Highest paid golfers (before LIV set the PGA Tour on fire) –


The world’s best golfers are in Massachusetts this week for the 122nd US Open at Brookline Country Club. The historic club hosted the 1913 Open, immortalized in print and filmed by The greatest game ever playedwhile the 2022 version will instead be “The Goofiest Game Ever Played”, as some of the 17 banned LIV Golf players are playing with their peers for the first time.

Golf’s 10 highest-paid players have won a total of $328m in prize money and endorsements in the 12 months to May 2022, led by Tiger Woods ($73.5m) – who won’t play this week as he recovers from injuries – and Rory McIlroy ($38.4m), but Saudi-backed LIV Golf has set the sport’s financial landscape ablaze going forward.


The playbook for money-making golfers has been relatively simple for decades. Win events – the bigger the better – and well-heeled corporate marketers have come calling with rich sponsorship deals to supplement the prize money or, in the case of the biggest stars, the greatly exceed. Simply by avoiding controversy, top players could rely on the sport to act as an ATM for decades. The playbook is dead.

LIV Golf offers events with prize money more than double what players earn on the PGA. Charles Schwartzel has pocketed $4 million for winning the first 54-hole LIV golf event in London. First place at this week’s Open is $3.15 million, up from $2.25 million in 2021, in what is usually one of the toughest course configurations on the Tour each year. On Wednesday, the United States Golf Association, which organizes the tournament, announced that overall prize money would be increased by $5 million, bringing the total purse to $17.5 million.

For rival upstarts Saudi Arabia, the $255 million in LIV prize money and eight-event bonuses in 2022 are just icing on the cake for the biggest stars. The competing tour offered signing fees that would have topped $100 million in the cases of Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Bryson DeChambeau. Our year-to-May revenue estimates do not include any LIV payments.

Sponsors fled Mickelson (Amstel Light, KPMG, Workday), Johnson (Royal Bank of Canada) and DeChambeau (Rocket Mortgage), as well as Graeme McDowell (RBC) and Lee Westwood (UPS). Mickelson suffered most of the early fallout – from fans and sponsors – when his disparaging comments about Saudis to author Alan Shipnuck came to light. Other golfers to sign with the Greg Norman-led series weighed similar consequences, but the chance to earn more than any sponsor could provide for light work was enough to land commitments.

“It was primarily a business decision,” DeChambeau said Monday, in his first public comments since LIV announced he had joined the upstart tour. “That’s all there was to it. It gave me a lot more opportunities outside of golf and gave me more time with my family and my future family.

The PGA saw the writing on the wall with LIV and adjusted its system to try to keep stars in the fold. Last year, it launched the Player Impact program, with $40 million in rewards to the 10 players who generate the most interest in the sport; the PIP is worth $50 million this year and will have three openings after 2021 winners Mickelson, Johnson and DeChambeau commit to LIV.

In 2022, the Tour also raised prize money by 16% to a record $427 million and grew the FedEx Cup pool from $60 million to $75 million, with a 20% increase for the winner at $18 million. None of these carrots was enough to stop the defections.

SporticoEarnings estimates, based on conversations with golf industry insiders, include prize money, endorsements, appearance fees, licensing and golf course design work done over the past few years. 12 months ending May 31.

Woods has been the highest paid golfer every year. He turned pro in 1996, armed with a five-year, $40 million contract with Nike. He only played two official PGA Tour events during our grading period, but still earned an estimated $65 million on course through endorsements, memorabilia, appearance fees and his sponsorship business. route design. Additionally, Woods placed first in the inaugural PIP, despite injuries preventing him from following the course, and received the high-profile $8 million bonus.

LIV did their best to land the game’s biggest star, with a “nine-figure” offer, according to Norman. “I have decided for myself that I support the PGA Tour,” Woods said at the PGA Championship last month. “That’s where my legacy lies.”

Highest paid golfers in the world

1. Tiger Woods: $73.5 million

Prize money: $8.5 million (including PIP); Of course: $65 million

The Swoosh is still in the endorsement stable for Woods, but the other names have changed. He has a dozen other sponsorship partners, like Rolex, Bridgestone Golf, Centinel Spine, Hero, Kowa, and Monster Energy.

2. Rory McIlroy: $38.9 million

Prize money: $10.9 million; Of course: $28 million

McIlroy signed a multi-year extension this year with his club and ball sponsor, TaylorMade. Their partnership began in 2017. The 33-year-old has won four major titles, but the last was in 2014. His third-place finish at the PIP was worth $3.5 million.

3. Phil Mickelson: $37.1 million

Prize money: $7.1 million; Of course: $30 million

Mickelson’s sponsors didn’t bail Lefty out until after most of our revenue score period ended, so his sponsorship revenue will drop further. In addition to the defections, Callaway has “suspended” his relationship with the 45-time PGA Tour winner. The luxury watch brand Rolex remains loyal to Phil. Their partnership dates back three decades to 1992.

4. Jordan Spieth: $32.4 million

Prize money: $10.4 million; Of course: $22 million

The former world No. 1 saw his ranking drop to 92nd at the start of 2021, but 10 Top 5s see him back into the Top 10. In April, Under Armor announced it had signed a four-year extension with the Texan which was added at the end of the 10-year agreement signed in 2015. The partnership now runs until 2029.

5. Patrick Cantlay: $28.3 million

Prize money: $23.3 million; Of course: $5 million

Cantlay snagged the biggest cash prize on the PGA Tour last year, the FedEx Cup. He edged out Jon Rahm at the Tour Championship to claim the winner’s share of $15 million. The 30-year-old has won four Tour titles in the past 12 months, having won three in his first nine years as a professional. His sponsors include Marcus, Hugo Boss, Titleist, Footjoy and ADP.

6. Justin Thomas: $26.4 million

Prize money: $13.4 million; Of course: $13 million

Thomas gave the golf apparel industry a new look in 2022 when he sported joggers on the course, thanks to an endorsement deal with Grayson Clothiers. Good timing for the clothing brand. Months later, the American won his second major title, the 2022 PGA Championship. Other JT sponsors include Acushnet/Titleist, CITI, Lineage Logistics, Rolex and Whoop.

7. Jon Rahm: $24.9 million

Prize money: $15.9 million; Of course: $9 million

Last year, the Spaniard joined Callaway’s list of sponsors, having worked with TaylorMade since turning pro in 2016. The equipment change hasn’t hurt his game, as he has won the PGA Player of the Year award and the Vardon Trophy, awarded on the Tour. score average leader. He also banked $5 million for his second-place finish at the FedEx Cup.

8. Dustin Johnson: $23.9 million

Prize money: $6.9 million; Of course: $17 million

Johnson ranks third in career prize money with $74 million, behind Woods ($121 million) and Mickelson ($95 million). Its off-course revenue was boosted by Coca-Cola’s purchase of BodyArmor for $8 billion. Johnson joined the sports drink as a brand ambassador in 2016 and received a stake as part of his deal. Those shares were worth about $6 million after the Coca-Cola deal, according to a source who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.

9. Hideki Matsuyama: $22.3 million

Prize money: $6.3 million; Of course: $16 million

Matsuyama and his marketing team have taken a measured approach with his off-course commitments following his historic 2021 Masters victory which made him the first Japanese player to win a men’s golf major. It added a three-year pact with Japanese IT and consulting firm NTT Data.

10. Collin Morikawa: $20.1 million

Prize money: $11.1 million; Of course: $9 million

Morikawa has made his wins count, with two majors among his five victories, including the 2021 British Open, which triggered lucrative bonuses from his dozen sponsors, including Adidas, Kowa, Grant Thornton, UGP and US Bank.