The four-time major winner responded to being named the UK's most famous sportsperson in ESPN's Fame 100 list


Rory McIlroy: “I Never Dreamed Of Being Famous”

Rory McIlroy has been named as the UK’s most famous sportsperson in a poll by ESPN.

The four-time major winner placed 17th in ESPN’s Fame 100, which is measured on athletes’ social media following, their ‘Google Trend’ score and endorsements.

Cristiano Ronaldo topped the list whilst McIlroy was top from the UK, beating Gareth Bale and Wayne Rooney.

McIlroy was top of another UK list recently – as the Sunday Times’ richest sportsperson aged 30 or under.

The 28-year-old’s net worth rose by £28m last year to reach £110m.

On the result of ESPN’s Fame 100 poll, McIlroy said today in his pre-BMW PGA Championship press conference that fame is “probably something I’ve grown to accept.”

Whilst he accepts fame, he admitted that he never dreamed of actually being famous, and that it is simply a by-product in his quest to become the world’s greatest golfer.

“I dreamed of being a great golfer. I never dreamed of the other stuff,” he said.

“I feel very privileged that I’m in the position that I’m in and I can basically pursue my dream of being the best golfer in the world, and obviously that starts to cross over into different things.

“But I just try to live my life the way I normally would, and yeah, but I don’t — I never dreamed of being famous. I never wanted to be famous. I wanted to be known for my golf and that was it.”

Related: See inside Wentworth’s newly refurbished clubhouse after £13m investment

The 2014 BMW PGA Champion gets his tournament underway at 12.30pm in the opening round at Wentworth alongside defending champion Alex Noren and Lee Westwood.

For all the first round tee times click here.

McIlroy’s last victory came at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in March.

He also finished T5th at The Masters, having played in the final group with Patrick Reed.