McIlroy has become an investor in the Alpine F1 team
Rory McIlroy says he was offered a chance to become an investor in Leeds United by fellow golfers – but had to turn it down as a fan of Manchester United.
However the Northern Irishman said he would welcome the chance to invest in the club he supports.
McIlroy, 34, recently joined the backers of F1 team Alpine.
“Sports stars are becoming more savvy and really trying to use their money in the right way,” he said.
American golfers Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas bought into the group 49ers Enterprises which completed a £170m takeover of Leeds United in July.
“They asked me if I wanted to come on board and I was like, as a Man Utd fan, can’t go anywhere near that,” McIlroy said.
He would, however, welcome a chance to get involved at Old Trafford.
The Glazer family, who bought Manchester United for £790m in 2005, announced in November 2022 they were considering selling.
Qatari banker Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani recently withdrew from the process to buy the club, while the other main bidder, British businessman Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos Group, is thought to be looking for a 25% stake in the club.
McIlroy said he would have “loved to have taken a 0.0001% share” with the Glazers inviting investment and added: “If another opportunity comes my way I will definitely look at it.
“To be able to own even a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage of the club you grew up cheering on would be very cool.”
For now, though, he is excited about the chance to get involved in Formula 1 and spoke about joining the Alpine set-up at Circuit of the Americas in Texas ahead of the US Grand Prix.
“It’s a great opportunity, I’ve always been a big fan of F1,” he said.
“There has been quite a bit of Northern Irish/Irish connection there with Eddie Jordan and Eddie Irvine back in the day. It’s always been something I followed.
“And then when this opportunity came up, I just think with the popularity of F1, how much it’s booming in the US in particular – and I have invested in a few things – but this has got more of a story and a journey.
“It’s no surprise they went to market and got some investors in but I think it obviously stabilises the team and it gives them some confidence going forward.
“F1 as a whole they do it so well. Golf could learn quite a bit from F1 in terms of some of the set-up stuff and how they do things.”
‘We’re all friends now’ – Rory on Ryder Cup row
McIlroy was also asked about his angry exchange with an American caddie before Europe regained the Ryder Cup in Rome earlier this month.
McIlroy took exception to Patrick Cantlay’s caddie Joe LaCava celebrating a putt on the green as he lined up his own shot.
Their row continued in a car park and McIlroy later said the incident had fired up the European team on the way to victory the following day.
However any bad feeling is all in the past, McIlroy said.
“Things happen in the heat of the moment, tensions were high. Joe LaCava came into the European team room on the Sunday night and had a drink and a chat.
“I’ve had a great relationship with Joe over the years when he caddied for Tiger (Woods) and that wasn’t going to change.
“For me, the incident happened, I purposely didn’t want to meet anyone on the Sunday morning because I wanted what had happened to fuel me for that day. My whole focus was let’s make sure Europe win the Ryder Cup and then we will sort all the other stuff out afterwards.
“And it’s all fine. We’re all friends now.”