Golf’s Rich List 2017

With help from Golf Digest, we have created a list of the top 5 highest paid active golfers. The presence of the largely inactive Tiger Woods on this list reveals that the lion’s share of money in golf is to be made away from competition. For the most part, this list demonstrates this disparity between prize money and the lucrative sponsorships enjoyed by the game’s most famous faces.

 

Golf’s Rich List 2017

 

5 – Dustin Johnson

ON COURSE: $12,664,185

OFF COURSE: $7,100,000              

TOTAL: $19,764,185

As the only player on this list to have won a major in 2016, Johnson’s position of last on this list is evidence that marketability rather than talent separates the elite few in terms of money. Johnson was the recipient of the Arnold Palmer Award for 2016, which is awarded to the highest earner on the PGA Tour, in spite of this; Johnson is rooted to bottom spot on this year’s golfing rich list.

4 – Jordan Spieth

ON COURSE: $6,403,470

OFF COURSE: $24,000,000

TOTAL: $30,403,470

After a stellar 2015, Spieth didn’t quite hit the heights he was expected to during the 2016 season. His historic collapse at the Masters marked an Icarus-like fall from grace and his on-course earnings reflect that. Finishing fourth out of the supposed ‘Big Four’ (comprised of Spieth, Day, Johnson and McIlroy) at the close of the 2016 will have been a disappointment to Spieth. His sponsorships allowed him to keep in touch with his counterparts however as he ranked second only to McIlroy in off-course earnings out of the ‘Big Four.’

3 -Tiger Woods

ON COURSE: $107,000

OFF COURSE: $34,607,000

TOTAL: $34,607,000

Being hampered by debilitating back injuries all year didn’t prevent Woods from appearing on this year’s rich list. Despite his stock falling lower than ever, his extensive range of endorsements mean he is an ever-present where money is concerned. Woods counts Nike, Rolex and Hero amongst his sponsors, and his total off-course earnings STILL eclipse those of his competitors.

2- Phil Mickelson

ON COURSE: $4,267,628

OFF COURSE: $33,500,000

TOTAL: $37,767,628

Mickelson’s aggressive brand of golf means that to this day, he remains a fan favourite on tour. His numerous endorsements are indicative of this popularity, as he narrowly trails Tiger Woods in terms of off-course earnings. Mickelson has been no slouch on the course either, as he has accumulated a respectable $4.3 million in 2016.

1 – Rory McIlroy

ON COURSE: $17,514,505

OFF COURSE: $32,000,000

TOTAL: $49,514,505

His FedEx Cup win netted him the most lucrative winner’s purse of the year (a cool $10 million), making him the leading on-course earner. For Rory McIlroy, clothing is a huge source of his financial superiority. His Nike deal is reportedly worth up to $250 million over ten years and Nike are just one of many commercial powerhouses that endorse the northern Irishman. Even the popular EA video game series, acknowledged that McIlroy has all but superseded Woods as the world’s pre-eminent golfer; their latest release has his face plastered on the cover as well as his name in the title.

 

A full decade later, McIlroy seems to have finally filled the throne that Woods abdicated in 2007. The fact that Woods remains within touching distance of top spot in spite of his almost complete absence is evidence that off course earnings distinguish elite money-makers from the rest of the field in golf today. Do you think this is unfair or is it just the state of the modern game? Let us know what you think!

 

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