Arnold Palmer Net Worth And Career Earnings

Arnold Palmer - nicknamed 'The King' - was among the highest-earning athletes of all time as a result of endorsement deals and business ventures

Arnold Palmer pictured at Augusta National Golf Club in 2015
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Arnold Palmer will forever be known as one of the most iconic figures in professional golf thanks to not only his sublime winning record but also his approach to the game. 

His charisma and trail-blazing approach set him apart from most others, and - having turned professional in 1954 - he became the first true superstar of golf's television age.

However, despite a total of seven Major championships - four of which were Masters titles - 55 regular PGA Tour victories, and 33 other professional wins, Palmer garnered just $6,924,319 in total prize money from golf - an arguably negligible amount when compared to the riches of the modern day.

Nicknamed 'The King', Palmer's lifetime riches arrived predominantly as a result of several endorsement deals and a plethora of business ventures under the umbrella name of Arnold Palmer Enterprises.

He owned the location for the PGA Tour's annual Arnold Palmer Invitational - Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Florida while also helping to found NBC Sports' Golf Channel in 1995.

A devout lover of the game, Palmer is also believed to have designed more than 300 golf courses in 37 states, 25 countries, and five continents (all except Africa and Antarctica).

Arnold Palmer GettyImages-515516548

(Image credit: Getty Images)

As well as several golf businesses, Palmer helped to launch an eponymous mass-produced drink in 2001 which is made up of sweet ice tea and lemonade.

On the endorsement side, the seven-time Major winner partnered with a handful of companies throughout his life including; Lincoln-Mercury, Pennzoil, and Hertz. He appeared in cigarette ads occasionally, but later quit after learning about smoking's link to cancer.

According to Forbes, even at the age of 85, Palmer was earning around $40 million a year from product endorsements.

In total, Palmer is believed to have earned roughly $885 million across his lifetime, just ahead of Jack Nicklaus’ $830 million. If that number is adjusted to reflect inflation, Palmer would have accumulated $1.7 billion.

Per Sportico, Palmer is the third-highest earner in the history of all sport behind only Tiger Woods ($1.77 billion, adjusted to $2.5 billion) and Michael Jordan ($2.37 billion, adjusted to $3.3 billion).

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Top 10 Highest-Paid Athletes of All Time (As of May 2013)
RankNameEarnings (Inflation-adjusted)SportTurned proRetired
1Michael Jordan$2.37 billion ($3.3b)Basketball19842003
2Tiger Woods$1.77 billion ($2.5b)Golf1996N/A
3Arnold Palmer$885 million ($1.7b)Golf19542006
4Jack Nicklaus$870 million ($1.63b)Golf19612005
5Cristiano Ronaldo$1.29 billion ($1.58b)Soccer2002N/A
6LeBron James$1.23 billion ($1.53b)Basketball2003N/A
7Lionel Messi$1.22 billion ($1.48b)Soccer2004N/A
8Floyd Mayweather$1.11 billion ($1.41b)Boxing19962017
9Roger Federer$1.1 billion ($1.38b)Tennis19982022
10Phil Mickelson$1.03 billion ($1.36b)Golf1992N/A

Source: Sportico

Jonny Leighfield
Staff Writer

Jonny Leighfield is our Staff News Writer who joined Golf Monthly just in time for the 2023 Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup. He graduated from the University of Brighton with a degree in Sport Journalism in 2017 and spent almost five years as the sole sports reporter at his local newspaper. An improving golfer who still classes himself as ‘one of the worst players on the Golf Monthly team’, Jonny enjoys playing as much as he can and is hoping to reach his Handicap goal of 18 at some stage. He attended both the 150th and 151st Opens and is keen to make it an annual pilgrimage.