Golfers Dominate New Highest Paid Athletes List

Three of the top four in the highest-paid athletes list are golfers, with Tiger Woods' $1.66bn earnings placing him second...

Tiger Woods celebrates winning the 2019 Masters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We know that golf can be a lucrative game and a new report from Sportico highlights just how well some golfing legends have done.

Titled 'Top 25 Highest-Paid Athletes Of All Time', golfers occupy positions 2, 3, 4, 11 and 15 in the list.

Unsurprisingly, Tiger Woods is golf's richest player with a total of $1.66bn earnings throughout his career, some $400m short of basketball star Michael Jordan.

Woods is said to have earned up to $100m off the course during his peak, where he was commanding appearance fees of $3m per event.

Related: What is Tiger Woods' Net Worth?

Second in the golf table, and third overall, is the late, great Arnold Palmer.

The King, who was said to still be earning $30m per year at the time of his death in 2016, amassed $885m in his career.

That figure adjusts to $1.5bn with inflation.

Palmer's great friend and rival Jack Nicklaus is just behind him on $830m of true earnings, which is around $140m ahead of footballer Cristiano Ronaldo with inflation.

Six-time Major winner Phil Mickelson is in 11th place with a total of $885m earned, $1.08bn with inflation.

Greg Norman rounds out the list of golfers in 15th position with $555m earned.

Norman is the only Australian to appear in the top-25 list.

Bob Dorfman, a sports marketing expert at Pinnacle Advertising, explained to Sportico why golfers are so prominent in the rich list.

“With competitive careers that can span 30 years or more, golfers have the longest shelf life of any pro athletes,” he said.

“Combine that with their global appeal across a broad and high-end fan demographic, and it’s no wonder so many rank high among the all-time earners in sports.”

Elliott Heath
Elliott Heath

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. Elliott graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He is obsessed with the game and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey. His handicap index floats between 3-5. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.


Elliott is currently playing:


Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Honma TR20B

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x