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Rory McIlroy: ‘I haven’t worked a day in my life,’ says pro golf career ‘isn’t a job’

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Even though Rory McIlroy has toiled endlessly — on the course, in the gym, on the range, everywhere — since he was a pint-sized prodigy, the 25-year-old acknowledged in a recent interview that the life of a professional golfer really isn’t a job at all, despite the absurd amount of effort and thousands of hours of practice he has put in to attain the ranking of the world’s No.1 player.

“Look, I haven’t worked a day in my life. This isn’t work, this isn’t a job,” McIlroy admitted in a recent interview with The Guardian. “This is just an intense environment that I play in and I never used to play in an intense environment. Sometimes it is just nice to get away from it for a while.”

Despite McIlroy’s insistence that the work put in honing his craft isn’t technically work in the truest sense of the word, he nevertheless conceded that the grind of competition — not to mention all the work behind the scenes — can begin to wear on him at times. When asked if he loves the game as much as he did as a kid, McIlroy admits that’s not technically the case.

“No,” answers McIlroy. “Because when I was a kid, if I spent a day away from the game, I couldn’t wait to get back. Now I can’t wait for a week off.

“It is nothing to do with the game, I still love the game, love going out playing great golf courses, playing with my friends or my dad. I would be being dishonest if I said my love of the game was the same. I still love the game, I just don’t love it like when it was just pure joy to get on the golf course and play. Now, I can leave the clubs alone for a week and be totally fine. You need that because this can be an intense style of golf.”

It’s hardly surprising that an endeavor that requires practically 100 percent commitment cannot remain fun forever in the truest sense of the word. Regardless of McIlroy’s claim that a professional golf career isn’t really a job, it is in many respects, given the mental toll it can have upon a person … although being lucky enough to have such a job certainly has its benefits, far beyond what a more traditional vocation may entail.

As McIlroy prepares to go for a career grand slam this week at Augusta National in the Masters, it’s refreshing to learn that he recognizes just how fortunate he is to play golf for a living … and a very lucrative living, indeed.

[H/T Eye on Golf]