From Fairways to Fortune: Who Are The Top 10 Richest Golfers Of All Time?

Today we’re going to run you through the top 10 richest golfers in the world, taking into account tournament prizes and endorsement deals, as well as the introduction of LIV Golf and the huge amounts some players have been paid to join the Saudi-backed tour.

10. Jordan Spieth – $120 Million

Jordan Spieth swinging a golf club at the Australian Open
Image Credit: Justin Falconer/Wikipedia Commons, CC BY 2.0

Jordan Spieth is the youngest name on this list.

He burst onto the scene in 2014, when he was runner-up at the Masters in his first appearance at the tournament. He won it the year after, before then winning the U.S. Open. In 2017 he won the Open Championship.

The only Major he hasn’t won is the PGA Championship.

Despite his young age, Spieth is already the 7th highest earner in golf history, winning over $62 million in prizes.

Endorsements have contributed heavily to Spieth’s wealth. He’s worked with some of the world’s biggest brands, including Coca-Cola, Rolex, and AT&T.

Most famously, though, Speith is associated with sports brand Under Armour, the apparel he has worn since turning pro in 2012.

In 2022, Speith and Under Armour announced an extension of his existing deal, which was due to run until 2025. He will now wear the Baltiomore-based brand until at least 2029.

Amazingly, back in 2015, when Speith was chasing the Grand Slam of all four Majors in one year, over $100 million was wiped off Under Armour’s share price after he missed out in the final hole of The Open Championship. Despite this, Spieth is still one of the richest golfers of all time.

9. Fred Couples – $150 Million

Fred Couples laughing at the US Open
Image credit: Erik Anestad/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Fred Couples is not only one of the world’s richest golfers, but also one of the most famous.

His first PGA Tour victory came in 1983. Since then, he has gone on to win 15 titles on the Tour, but has only ever managed to win one Major: the 1992 Masters. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2013.

Couples is only 65th on the all-time money list, having won just under $23 million.

But since he’s the co-owner of Couples Bates Golf Design, and has had endorsement deals with many major companies, including Jaguar, Mitsubishi Electric and Bridgestone, he’s made it to number nine on our rich list.

His enormous career earnings were also boosted by video games. “Boom Boom” lent his name to two Sega-produced video games in the ‘90s:  Fred Couples Golf, and Golf Magazine: 36 Great Holes Starring Fred Couples.

8. Gary Player – $250 Million

Gary Player playing golf
Image credit: Store norske leksikon, PDM 1.0

South African Gary Player is one of only five players to have ever won all four Majors.

The Black Knight also won over 150 professional tournaments across the world, including 24 PGA Tour titles and 60 Sunshine Tour titles. He was awarded the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.

Over his 60-year career, he won over $14 million. He’s earned far more than that since retiring, though.

He has had sponsorship deals with companies like Callaway, SAP and Rolex, plus he owns Gary Player Design, a golf course design company.

All of Gary Player’s businesses, including Gary Player Design, Player Real Estate, The Player Foundation, Gary Player Academies, and Black Knight Enterprises, are covered under the umbrella of Black Knight International. These businesses range from live events to memorabilia.

7. Rory McIlroy – $250+ Million

Rory McIlroy playing golf
Image credit: Tour Pro Golf Clubs/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Rory McIlroy turned professional in 2007 and won his first Major (the U.S. Open) in 2011.

Within three years, he had won three more Majors. The only Major to have eluded him so far is the Masters.

He is currently seen as one of the superstars of the golfing world.

McIlroy has earned over $80 million throughout his career from golf alone, putting him second on the list of all-time money winners.

In 2022, he earned an incredible $18 million for his win in the FedEx Cup alone. It was the third time he claimed that lucrative prize.

Like most of the names on this list, McIlroy makes a large part of his fortune away from the course and was second only to Tiger Woods in off-course earnings in 2023.

The Irishman signed a deal with Nike in 2017, rumored to be worth an incredible $200 million. He also founded TGL with Tiger Woods – an indoor “high-tech league” for golf, where high-profile players will compete in a team format alongside celebrities.

4. (tie) Jack Nicklaus – $400 Million

Jack Nicklaus on the golf course at The Masters
Image credit: Torrey Wiley/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Jack Nicklaus has won an amazing 18 Majors – more than any other player.

His six Masters wins make him the most successful player in the tournament’s history. He’s also won 73 PGA Tour titles, as well as nine on the European Tour, and was awarded the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

Nicklaus earned millions from golf, although his winnings are dwarfed by those paid out to modern-day players.

Business ventures have also contributed heavily to his wealth. The 80-year-old owns one of the world’s largest gold course design companies, plus he’s written many books and launched clothing and wine businesses.

Nicklaus has had a long list of lucrative brand and sponsorship deals throughout his career, and even lent his name to a video game in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

Most recently, Nicklaus has given his name and likeness to a line of soft drinks from the Arizona Beverage Company, which also produces an Arnold Palmer line.

4. (tie) Jon Rahm – $400 Million

Jon Rahm looking slightly off camara while being interviewed
Image credit: Federación de Golf de Madrid/Wikipedia Commons, CC BY 3.0

Jon Rahm is one of the best golfers in the world, but thanks to signing his record-breaking deal with LIV Golf in 2023, he has now become one of the richest.

A double major winner, Rahmbo was an integral part of the 2023 European Ryder Cup team, but shocked the sports world in December ‘23 when he announced he was joining LIV Golf.

After saying “The (LIV) format is not really appealing to me” and “I am officially declaring my fealty to the PGA Tour” in 2022, Rahm was eventually persuaded. It turns out money does talk, and now Rahm and his family are sitting on stacks of it.

The deal guaranteed Rahm a reported $300 million upfront, but will be worth a total of $5-600 million over the next four years.

Before joining LIV, Rahm already had an eye-watering net worth of $100 million, thanks to earning over $51 million in prize money alone.

4. (tie) Greg Norman – $400 Million

Greg Norman drives a golf ball off the flight deck
Image credit: United States Navy/picryl, Public Domain

Greg Norman, famously known as the “Great White Shark”, is one of the best-known Australian sports stars of all time.

Despite spending 331 weeks as world number one, he only managed to win two Majors. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2001.

Norman was the first player to earn $10 million in career earnings, however much of his money came from business ventures.

He started the Greg Norman Company in 1993, and this company now owns a range of businesses in varied industries, including real estate and golf course design.

In 2021, Norman left Greg Norman Company to become the CEO of LIV Golf Investments, the Saudi Arabian-backed start-up that has shaken up the golf world.

3. Phil Mickelson – $800-$900 Million

Phil Mickelson at PGA National
Image credit: Corn Farmer/Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

Phil Mickelson is one of the most successful golfers of recent times.

Referred to as “Lefty” by golf fans, he’s won six Majors, including the Masters in 2004, 2006 and 2010. He’s also won 45 times on the PGA Tour, as well as 11 times on the European Tour.

Mickelson is second to Tiger Woods when it comes to earnings, having won over $96 million in prize money.

He won a staggering $9 million in “The Match: Tiger vs. Phil”, a pay-per-view event held at the Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The reported $200 million bonus he received for joining the LIV Tour has made him the third richest golfer ever.

Although Mickleson’s current net worth hasn’t been confirmed, he is just one of a handful of athletes in the history of sport to have established pre-tax career earnings of more than $1 billion.

He also offered some insight into his personal wealth after a Twitter spat with a fan in June 2023, who commented on Mickelson’s well-documented struggles with gambling. He wrote, “Haven’t gambled in years. Almost a billionaire now. Thanks for asking.”.

2. Arnold Palmer – $1 Billion

Arnold Palmer at the Masters
Image credit: Dan Perry/Flickr, CC BY 2.0

The King, Arnold Palmer, is one of the most iconic golfers in history and is widely regarded as the first superstar of the sport.

In the 1960s, the “Big Three” of Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player helped turn the sport into what it is today, paving the way for the huge prize money and commercial deals that modern players enjoy.

Palmer won 62 PGA Tour titles with seven majors. He just missed out on completing a career grand slam, as he finished runner-up in the PGA Championship three times.

In total, he amassed just $3.6 million in prize money from the PGA Tour, but earned the majority of his fortune through sponsorships, licensing, appearances, and the Arnold Palmer Design Company.

He has continued to earn an amazing amount since he died in 2016, with Forbes estimating his estate earned $40 million in 2017 alone.

1. Tiger Woods – $1.1 Billion

Tiger Woods holding a golf club
Image credit Theflowerbar/Wikipedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0

There are no prizes for guessing that the number one richest golfer in the world is Tiger Woods.

Regarded by many as the greatest player ever, he’s had 110 wins in his career and has spent 683 weeks as world number one. He did have something of a fall from grace, but confirmed he was back by winning the 2019 Masters.

As you might expect, he’s raked in cash from many endorsement deals, working with some huge names like Nike, with whom he struck a deal estimated to be worth an eye-watering $105 million.

On top of endorsements, Tiger is also an accomplished businessman and CEO of TGR. TGR is an enterprise that includes companies such as a restaurant and a golf course design business.

Woods reached billionaire status in 2022, despite turning down an incredible offer to join LIV Golf, which, according to LIV CEO Greg Norma, was in the “high nine digits”.

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