Arnold Palmer was an American golfer who, from 1955 to 1973, won 62 professional golf tournaments. Among those wins, he also was able to win 10 tournaments from the Championship Tour. Arnold Palmer is known to be one of the greatest golfers of all time. In 1974, Palmer was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
When Arnold Palmer died on September 25th in 2016, his net worth was estimated to be around $875 million. Throughout his life, his golf earnings and external revenue brought him around $1.3 billion. His estate racked in over $40 million the year after his death, which made him the second-highest paid dead celebrity in the world.
Tiger Woods is one of the greatest athletes in the world, winning 82 PGA tour wins and 15 majors throughout his career. Since Tiger turned pro in 1996, he has earned more than $1.4 billion from sponsors. His success in golf has led him to purchase a $55 million mansion in Jupiter, which has a private golf course and a 155 foot yacht.
Although most of his money comes from those endorsements, Woods was still able to win over $120 million in tournament money. His most recent estimation puts his total net worth at $800 million. Tiger Woods still plays on the professional golf tour, and will most likely eventually pass Arnold Palmer as the richest golfer of all time.
Phil Mickelson is an American golfer who has won 44 PGA tournaments. Mickelson has also won 5 major championships, three of which were Masters victories. In 1992, he joined the PGA Tour and continues to play to this day. In fact, he has the longest streak ranked in the top 50 golfers at 1,353 weeks.
Throughout his golf career, Mickelson has won over $88 million in tournament prize money. A significant proportion of his earnings have come from endorsements. He is sponsored by Callaway, KPMG, Exxon Mobil, and Amgen, which bring his total net worth to $375 million.
Known as the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus is one of the greatest golfers of all time. Through his 25 years playing on the PGA Tour, Nicklaus won 73 PGA tournaments, 18 of which were major tournaments. He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974, and also founded his own tournament that takes place in Dublin, Ohio.
Jack Nicklaus is also a very well-known course designer, earning him a large sum of money. Working with his younger sons, they opened Nicklaus Design, which has designed over 410 courses in 45 different countries. Nicklaus's net worth is estimated to be around $300 million.
Greg Norman is an Australian professional golfer who has won a total of 91 professional golf victories between the PGA, European Tour, and Australasia Tour. He has also won two first place trophies at the Open Championship. Greg Norman is estimated to be worth around $300 million, with a majority of those profits coming from his business ventures. Greg Norman has designed golf bags, an apparel line, an eyewear label, and even a wine company that he started in 1996. Along with that, he has partnership in a real-estate firm, a golf academy, a private equity firm, and also a wakeboard park. Greg Norman is easily one of the richest golfers ever due to his ability to succeed as both a golfer and an entrepreneur.
Gary Player is a retired South African professional golfer who currently stands at third for most professional wins in the history of the PGA. Throughout his time playing, Gary has won 163 professional wins, nine of which were major victories. When Gary Player started playing golf at the age of 14, it only took him 3 years before he was a professional player.
Gary Player is estimated to be worth around $250 million. His success has stemmed past golf, by opening many business ventures which include a real estate firm and a golf academy. He is known to have one of the greatest fan bases in the world, due to his easy going personality and love for that game of golf.
Fred Couple is an American professional golfer who started playing on the PGA Tour in 1980. In 1992, Fred Couples was ranked the number one golfer in the world and stayed at number one for 16 straight weeks. Throughout his time on the PGA Tour, Couples came in first at 15 PGA Events. At the 1992 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, he won his first and only major victory.
Fred Couples is currently estimated to be worth $120 million. Similar to other professional golf players, Couples has been an important part of designing some of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. In 2011, Couples won his first ever senior major at the Seniors Player Championship.
Rory McIlroy is a professional golfer and has been a star on both the PGA tour as well as the European Tour. Since becoming a professional golfer in 2017, McIlroy has won 13 times on the PGA Tour and 13 times on the European Tour. He even won four major championship events, including the PGA Championship in 2012 and 2014.
Although he hasn't one a major championship since the 2014 PGA Championship, McIlroy still makes plenty of money from his endorsements. One of the biggest endorsements in sports, McIlroy has been a Nike supporter for years. His current net worth is estimated to be $122 million.
Jordan Spieth is an American professional golfer who discovered a passion for golf at the age of 12. Seven years later at the age of 21, he won both the Masters and the U.S. Open in the same year. When he was 23, he won his third major victory after coming up on top at the 2017 British Open.
Although Spieth hasn't had a major victory since 2017, his endorsements have boosted his wealth to currently be worth around $100 million. His endorsements include the following companies: Wheaties, Coca-Cola, and Rolex. In fact, in 2018 he was ranked as one of the top 25 highest-paid athletes in the world.
As one of the tallest golfers ever to play on the PGA Tour, Ernie Els, or "The Big Easy," is the tenth highest paid golfer of all time. Coming from South Africa, Ernie has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and 28 times on the European Tour. In 2011, he got inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. One of his most remarkable statistics includes being one of six golfers to win both the U.S. Open and Open Championship twice.
Ernie Els current net worth resides at $85 million, which is heavily due to all of his tournament wins. Similar to other wealthy golfers, Els currently runs a golf course design business and a charitable foundation that supports underprivileged kids in South Africa.
Jordan Spieth currently holds the record for the highest earnings in a PGA season. In his 2014-2015 year on tour, Spieth earned over $12 million after he won the U.S. Open, Masters, and Fed-Ex Cup. He also came up on top at the Valspar in March, John Deere Classic, and the Tour Championship. He also was named the PGA Player of the Year for his incredible season.
Tiger Woods had the highest paid sponsorship in the 2018-2019 season after receiving over $42 million that season. His sponsors come from many reputable companies, including Nike, Monster Energy, GolfTV, Taylormade, Centinel Spine, and Bridgestone Golf. In a close second is Phil Mickelson, who won $39.4 million from his endorsements, which include Callaway, Exxon Mobil, Rolex, and KPMG. Other golfers with the highest endorsements include Rory Mcilroy, Jordan Spieth, and Justin Thomas.
The Players Championship currently has the highest purse of any major event. The winner of the tournament gets a $2.7 million paycheck. From 2019 to 2020, the Professional Golf Association added an extra $15 million into the purse of the finalists. The second place finisher ends with $1.3 million, then $850,000, $600,000, and $500,000 for the fifth place finisher.
Although the PGA is known for giant sums of money awarded to their victories, the United States Golf Association (USGA) prohibits amateurs from accepting tournament money. The rule, called the USGA Rule 3-1, states that a player cannot play for money in any match, exhibition, or tournament. The USGA states that this rule is what strictly distincts the PGA from the amateur league.