Following the recent COP26 summit that brought together world leaders to address issues of climate change, Rory McIlroy was asked Tuesday in Dubai about his global footprint considering his globe-trotting lifestyle.
His answer – like most of his responses – was illuminating.
“It’s funny you say that,” McIlroy began in his press conference ahead of the European Tour’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship. “Two years ago, after I won in China, I flew back home privately, and it was just me on the plane. And I just got this massive sense of guilt come over me, just because this can’t be good and all that sort of stuff.”
Full-field tee times from the DP World Tour Championship
That led McIlroy and his team to reach out to the CEO Foundation, the non-profit dedicated to sustainability through golf.
“I wouldn’t self-profess to be an eco-warrior,” he said, “but I’m someone that doesn’t want to damage the environment anyway, so how can I make my travel around the world neutral, how can I neutralize what I do?”
Given ways to reduce his footprint, McIlroy now doesn’t just pay what it typically costs to fly privately – he also pays an additional amount (pegged by some reports at about $200,000) to be carbon neutral by the end of the year.
“It’s something that I have a conscience about and I take seriously, especially when you see some of these weather events that are happening,” he said. “I live in a part of the world (South Florida) where hurricanes are very prevalent and becoming more and more prevalent as the years go on. I think we can all play our part in some way or another.”