Which Golfers Besides Tiger Woods Are the Highest Paid Athletes in History?

Published 11/04/2021, 8:14 PM EDT
ORLANDO, FL – MARCH 25: Tiger Woods of the United States is presented with the trophy by Arnold Palmer of the United States, the win meant he re-gained the World’s number one position after the final round of the 2013 Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by Mastercard at Bay Hill Golf and Country Club on March 25, 2013 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)


Every sport has those select few athletes who earn more than anyone in the entire sports’ history. With golf, one cannot even think of moving ahead without thinking of Tiger Woods. The living legend has dominated the PGA Tour for years, winning 82 titles in total. However, looking at an all-time earning list for athletes, a total of three golfers have made the top five on the coveted list.

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Yes, Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan heads the list, Woods following him. Interestingly, the next two spots belong to two of golf’s big three – Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Including Gary Player, the three of them are praised for building golf and popularizing it. When Woods started playing in the 90s, he ended up revolutionizing the game.

DUBLIN, OH – JUNE 7: Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods pose with the tournament trophy after the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 7, 2009 in Dublin, Ohio. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)

How much did Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer make?

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Looking at the list, Jordan earned $2.62 billion overall, an amount we might not see again very soon. Of course, all top 10 players have earned in billions. Some of them, like Woods, LeBron James, and Cristiano Ronaldo, are still active. Let’s take a look at how much some golfers have earned in their lifetime.

READ MORE: Tiger Woods vs Michael Jordan Net Worth Comparison: Who Is the Richer Athlete?

Tiger Woods: $2.1 billion

Woods, with inflation-adjusted accordingly, is the only player who has a $2 billion figure apart from Jordan. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Tiger Woods’ net worth stands at $800 million. He turned pro in 1996, which was the same year when he signed a $49 contract with Nike. Today, he is apparently worth $22,540,000 to the brand.

He has also has other tie-ups with brands like Bridgestone, TaylorMade, and Rolex. The 45-year-old has designed his own course in Missouri and owns a luxurious mansion in Jupiter.

Arnold Palmer: $1.5 billion

Palmer is one interesting addition to the list. Turning pro in 1954, his earning at the time were less than a million. But with inflation, Palmer ends up third on the list, having earned billions. Palmer, who passed away in 2016, retired with 62 PGA Tour titles, which included seven major wins. His net was said to be $700 million.

Palmer had multiple business ventures, including his club – Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Florida. He was also associated with multiple endorsements, all of them looked after by Arnold Palmer Enterprises.

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WATCH THIS STORY: Youngest Players to make the cut on the PGA Tour

Jack Nicklaus: $1.38 billion

Next on the list is Nicklaus, who turned professional in 1961. His net worth, as per reports, stands at $400 million. With 73 PGA Tour wins to his name, he has been designing golf courses since the 60s. Of course, real estate and endorsements with brands like Arizona Beverage Company have helped him earn his fortune.

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September 21, 2021; Kohler, Wisconsin, USA; U.S. Team vice-captain Phil Mickelson waves to the fans along the eighth hole during a practice round for the 43rd Ryder Cup golf competition at Whistling Straits. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Now, Phil Mickelson has ranked 11th on the list, having earned $1.08 billion in his life. Australia’s Greg Norman was listed 15th, having earned $815 million.

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Devika

440 articles

Devika Pawar is a Golf and NBA writer at Essentially Sports. A psychology graduate from KJ Somaiya, Devika has an experience with sportswriting at Republic World for around two years now. She loves NBA a little too much, and is a dedicated Golden State Warriors fan.

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