Rory McIlroy is now the second most wanted sportsman in the world – and only a Brazilian soccer player who is unknown in the United States ranks higher than the US Open champion.
McIlroy has shot up from 21st last year in the latest rankings of the 50 most marketable athletes in the world compiled by www.sportspromedia.com.
Brazilian soccer player Neymar tops the ratings which aim to measure the marketability of athletes three years into the future.
The criterion for the rankings considers future monetary value, age, charisma, crossover appeal, their home market and willingness to engage sponsors.
Judges consider McIlroy: “A player easy to root for as course-side spectators will him on with the kind of enthusiasm reserved for sons and daughters.”
McIlroy is considered especially worthy of the ranking due to his deals with banking company Santander as well as Audemars Piguet, Footjoy, Jumeirah, Oakley, Skins, Sunseeker and Titleist.
The only other male golfers to make the top 50 were Tiger Woods, 47th on the list, and Bubba Watson at 20th.
Yani Tseng was the highest-ranked female golfer at No. 10. All three were not ranked last year according to www.golfchannel.com.