Golf not fame drives McIlroy

Rory McIlroy has been ranked as the 15th most famous sportsperson in the world by ESPN, but being a great golfer is his sole motivation.

Four-time major winner Rory McIlroy   -  Getty Images

Former world number one Rory McIlroy insists it was never his intention to become world famous as his profile hinders his private life.

The four-time major champion was again included in ESPN's ranking of the world's most famous sports stars this week, ranking 15th - ahead of the likes of UFC star Conor McGregor, ex-Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

But McIlroy claims golf has always been his focus and some aspects of his unintentional fame can be frustrating.

"I dreamed of being a great golfer - I never dreamed of all this other stuff," said McIlroy, who missed the cut at The Players Championship.

"I feel very privileged that I'm in the position that I'm in, but I just try to live my life the way I normally would. I never wanted to be famous. I wanted to be known for my golf and that was it.

"Everyone knows what you do 24 hours of the day. You can't really get away from it too much.

"That's why I've tried to withdraw from social media and keep my life more private. As time has gone on, I've started to value that part of my life more."

McIlroy won consecutive majors in 2014 but has failed to win another since, with the Northern Irishman hoping for another "spark" at this week's BMW PGA Championship.

"It did snowball from when I won here [in 2014] and I'd love to be able to do something like that again," McIlroy said. "I've got a busy summer coming up.

"There's a lot of big tournaments to play in: I have still got three major championships and the Ryder Cup and everything else. Maybe this could be the spark that gets that all going again."

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