Rory McIlroy’s DP World Tour Race to Dubai prize dwarfed by LIV Golf millions

Without even trying, Rory McIlroy won his fifth Race to Dubai championship on Sunday after winning the Nedbank Golf Challenge made it impossible for him to be caught.

The £1.6 million Race to Dubai prize won by Rory McIlroy is a small portion of the season-long bonus awarded by LIV Golf, one of the DP World Tour’s fiercest rivals.

Without even trying the course, McIlroy successfully defended his Race to Dubai title on Sunday for the second time in his career. This week at the DP World Tour Championship, the Northern Irishman was scheduled to compete for the yearlong title, but the pack of competitors is no longer able to catch up to him.

After the Nedbank Golf Challenge concluded, the winner was officially announced. It turned out that none of the four-time major champion’s closest rivals had accumulated enough points in South Africa to advance the competition to the last week of play.

The win is the fifth time McIlroy has been crowned the Wentworth-based circuit’s top player, and it came with a nice bonus of £1.6 million ($2m) too. The season-long bonus takes the world No. 3’s on-course earnings for the year to £18.2 million, but his DP World Tour figure is dwarfed by LIV’s top prize.

The breakaway league’s own 2023 Order of Merit was won by American Talor Gooch, as he fended off the likes of Brooks Koepka and Cam Smith to land an eye-watering £14.7 million ($18m) prize. Gooch impressed throughout the year, winning on three occasions, and his bonus last month made him pro golf’s top earner for 2023.

Throughout 2023, Gooch earned an incredible £30.6 million ($37.5 million) in total, making it a year to remember for the American. As one of golf’s and sport’s wealthiest athletes, McIlroy won’t be too concerned about the disparity in prize money.

Following the Saudi-backed league’s matchup with the PGA Tour, McIlroy has become one of LIV Golf’s harshest critics amid the league’s meteoric rise over the previous 17 months. The Northern Irishman has been more circumspect about LIV in recent months as a possible merger between the competing tours has been rumored.

Earlier this month though, the 34-year-old appeared to reignite the feud when claiming the breakaway league was in ‘no man’s land’. McIlroy made the jibe whilst discussing his new venture with Tiger Woods, with the pair set to launch an innovative golf league named ‘TGL’.

24 PGA Tour players will compete across six teams on the stadium-based circuit, and in recent months the league has drawn strong comparisons to its LIV rivals. Rubbishing the similarities, McIlroy said: “I think [TGL] is meant to be complimentary [to professional golf], this is not meant to be disrespectful in any way.

“One of the first things Tiger and I said when Mike [McCarley] presented this idea to us was, ‘If we are going to do this, we are going to have to partner with the PGA Tour in some way and make this complimentary.'” That was the initial action. This was a “how can we be added into the entire system” situation rather than an antagonistic one at all.

“I don’t want to sit here and talk about LIV but you could make the argument that they haven’t innovated enough from what traditional golf is, or they have innovated too much that they not traditional golf. They are sort of caught in no-man’s land, whereas this is so far removed from what we know golf to be.”

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