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U.S. Open golf: Should Rory McIlroy move to US?

U.S. Open golf winner would make more money playing in the PGA tour than in Europe. But even after historic U.S Open golf win, sponsorships and taxes complicate Rory McIlroy's decision.

Rory McIlroy, of Northern Ireland, tees off on the third hole during the final round of the U.S. Open golf tournament in Bethesda, Md., June 19, 2011. If he moves to the US, he could make more money, but he would also pay more taxes.

Nick Wass/AP

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As 22-year-old Irishman Rory McIlroy continues to impress in the majors, it becomes more and more apparent that the PGA Tour needs to wrestle this golf phenom away from the European Tour and keep him for themselves.

It's a big money decision for McIlroy. Taxes play a big part. Not only would he have to pay taxes on his winnings in the United States if he played more events here, but he'd also have to pay taxes on his endorsement income.

Thanks to endorsements from Jumeirah, Titleist and Oakley, the Irish resident makes about $10 million in endorsement income. But marketing insiders think that could easily double in a year's time if he continues his charge to the top of leaderboards and finishes off to win a major, something he couldn't do this year at the Masters. [Editor's note: This story was written before the conclusion of the U.S. Open golf tournament, which McIlroy won in convincing, recordmaking fashion Sunday with a 16-under-par 268 over four days.]

As endorsement cash started to trump winnings and prize money, tax authorities in the US and United Kingdom started to catch on.


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