Tiger Woods Revealed As Highest-Paid Golfer

The 15-time Major winner comes well ahead of three others in the list of the world's top 100 highest-paid athletes

Tiger Woods during the second round of the 2022 Masters
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The identities of the world’s 100 highest-paid athletes in the last 12 months have been revealed, with Tiger Woods coming well ahead of three other golfers on the list.

The research, carried out by Sportico, found that Woods, Jordan Spieth, Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy are the best-paid in golf. However, the 15-time Major winner is top thanks mainly to his eye-watering earnings from endorsements. The 46-year-old took a staggering $65m in endorsements from June 2021 to May 2022, with a further $8.5m in winnings, the bulk of which came from the PIP Award, which netted him $8m. In total, Woods earned $73.5m, which far outweighs the earnings of each of the other three.  

The next highest-paid golfer is Rory McIlroy, whose $10.4m winnings and $28m in endorsements gave him $38.4m. Not far behind the Northern Irishman is Phil Mickelson, whose $37.1m earnings were made up of winnings of $7.1m and endorsements of $30m. Mickelson’s ability to earn big money in the later years of his career is notable - he is the oldest athlete in the 100, aged 51. Finally, Jordan Spieth earned $31.3m, helped by winnings of $9.3m and endorsements of $22m.

While these earnings are impressive by almost anyone’s standards, they are far lower than the world’s highest-paid athlete, LA Lakers basketball star LeBron James, who made an astonishing $127m. Three footballers come immediately behind James – Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar earning $122m, $115m and $103m, respectively. Boxer Canelo Alvarez, a keen golfer who played this year’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am, completes the top five, earning $89m.

The research adds weight to the theory, espoused by the likes of LIV Golf CEO Greg Norman, that golfers aren’t paid well enough. Following his revelations that he’d secured an extra $2bn in funding to grow the upcoming LIV Golf Invitational Series, Norman said: “Quite honestly, the players are the lowest paid on the totem pole compared to soccer and some sports in the US, one of the lowest-paid.” Norman's view is further enhanced by the sometimes relatively meagre earnings of PGA Tour pros

However, others have a different opinion, with McIlroy explaining in March why he thinks players are fairly paid. Overall, golf comes fifth on the list of 10 sports represented in the top 100, behind basketball, American football, football and baseball. Beneath it are boxing, tennis, F1, MMA and cricket. 

Woods is 10th on the list, with McIlroy in 39th, Mickelson 44th and Spieth 85th.

Things You Didn't Know About Tiger Woods

Mike Hall
News Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.