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With enough money to make your eyes water, let’s take a look at the top 10 golfers alive today with the highest net worth. Does Tiger finally get to topple Jack?
Our list doesn’t include Arnold Palmer, who passed away in 2016. At the time of his death, The King reached a net worth of $700m, making him the second richest golfer in history.
The former world number one Fijian earned over $60m in prize money during his career, winning 34 PGA Tour events and 13 European Tour events, including one Masters title and two PGA Championships.
The Big Easy won 74 worldwide events during his career, including 19 PGA Tour events, two Open Championships and two US Opens. He has a successful winery and golf course design business, Ernie Els Design, responsible for world-class layouts such as Four Seasons Golf Club Mauritius at Anahita, The Els Club, Copperleaf Estates, South Africa, and The Els Club, Dubai Sports City, UAE.
The former world number one from Texas is a three-time major winner and the 2015 FedEx Cup champion. Spieth’s first major win came at the 2015 Masters when he pocketed $1.8m. He has also won The Open, the US Open and 13 PGA Tour titles.
Fred Couples has earned a profitable living on the PGA Tour, winning 15 titles, including the Masters and two Players Championships, and on the PGA Tour Champions, winning eight titles, two of them majors. He has also designed over 20 golf courses worldwide with his design partner Gene D. Bates.
The superstar from Northern Ireland has won three of golf’s four majors, the Players, two FedEx Cups and has held the number one spot in the rankings for over 100 weeks. At the age of 22, he became the youngest player ever to reach €10m in earnings on the European Tour, and in 2012 he became the youngest player to reach $10m on the PGA Tour. In 2019 he walked off with a $15m check for winning the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup. McIlroy is one of the PGA Tour’s most marketable players with only Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson earning more off the course, earning around $30m a year in endorsements.
The South African is one of the greatest golfers of all time. During his career, he won nine major championships and has 160 worldwide titles to his name. He’s the only non-American to win all four majors in a career. He has earned millions from his status as one of golf’s ‘Big Three’ alongside Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. His design firm, Player Design, has designed over 400 golf courses in 41 countries, and it is estimated that he has earned $90m from book sales during his career.
Probably the greatest golfer of all time, the Golden Bear holds the record for major wins at 18, three more than Tiger Woods. Today, Nicklaus heads up Nicklaus Design, one of the world’s largest golf course design and construction companies, responsible for Harbour Town Golf Links and Muirfield Village Golf Club and around 400 others. Since he stopped playing, he continues to earn staggering amounts through continued endorsements with companies such as Rolex.
Lefty has won 45 events on the PGA Tour, including six major championships: three Masters titles, two PGA Championships, and one Open Championship. His career prize money total, over $94m, leaves him behind only Tiger Woods in golf history. But his biggest paydays have been off the course, to the tune of nearly $800m during his career, through endorsements with companies like VistaJet, Rolex, Workday and KPMG.
The Great White Shark spent 331 weeks as the world’s number one ranked golfer in the 1980s and 90s. The Australian was the highest tour earner in professional golf in 1986, 1990 and 1995, and was the first professional golfer to generate over $10m in career earnings. Today, he makes huge sums from his firm Greg Norman Golf Course Design, his clothing line, interior design, real estate, wine production, and private equity. He’s also CEO of LIV Golf Investments, which is currently launching its Saudi-backed invitational golf series.
The majority of the 15 times major winner’s wealth comes from sponsorship endorsements. Woods began his professional career in 1996, and according to Forbes has since earned over $1.5bn from endorsements alone. Though he did pick up a cool $2.07m by winning the 2019 Masters. In 2013, he extended his deal with Nike, said to earn him $200 million. He has now branched out into golf course design. Payne’s Valley, the first public golf course designed by Woods, opened in 2020 in Missouri. He’s now back playing following a car crash and continues to rake it in. Over the last year alone he has earned an estimated $50m.