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Rory McIlroy has admitted that the guilt of flying to golf tournaments around the world on a private jet prompted him to pay additional annual fees to offset his carbon footprint.

The 32-year-old former world No.1 was asked for his views on air travel ahead of this week’s DP World Tour Championship and in the wake of the COP26 climate change summit that has just taken place in Glasgow.

McIlroy explained how he experienced a “wake-up moment” after flying home following his WGC-HSBC Champions win in Shanghai two years ago.

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“I flew back home privately,” he explained. “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.

“So, we ended up reaching out to the GEO Foundation who do a lot of great sustainability things in golf.”

It is understood that McIlroy pays around $150,000 per year to offset his carbon footprint.

“I wouldn’t self-profess to be an eco-warrior,” he said. “But I’m someone that doesn’t want to damage the environment, so how can I make my travel around the world neutral? How can I neutralise what I do?

“They came up with a few different ways that I can do that. So on top of what I pay to fly private, I pay quite a bit more on top of that to make sure I’m carbon neutral by the end of the year.”

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Florida-based McIlroy added that he has become more environmentally aware, saying that it’s “something I have a conscience about”.

“I take it seriously, especially when you see some of these weather events that are happening, And I live in a part of the world 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.”

author headshot

Michael McEwan is the Deputy Editor of bunkered and has been part of the team since 2004. In that time, he has interviewed almost every major figure within the sport, from Jack Nicklaus, to Rory McIlroy, to Donald Trump. The host of the multi award-winning bunkered Podcast and a member of Balfron Golfing Society, Michael is the author of three books and is the 2023 PPA Scotland 'Writer of the Year' and 'Columnist of the Year'. Dislikes white belts, yellow balls and iron headcovers. Likes being drawn out of the media ballot to play Augusta National.

Deputy Editor

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