Golf’s Top Earners

Golf Digest has compiled a list of golf’s top earners for 2006. The figures include both on- and off- the course income. I find the top six fascinating:

Tiger Woods – $98,941,827
Phil Mickelson – $44,256,505
Arnold Palmer – $27,542,850
Vijay Singh – $24,811,026
Greg Norman – $22,627,202
Michelle Wie – $20,235,234

Tiger, of course, is first, and with his lifetime earnings now of more than $640 million, is well on his way to becoming sports’ first Billion Dollar Man. Wow.

Phil Mickelson, the second place player, earns less than half of what Tiger does. And Phil made fifteen times what the fiftieth player on the list made (David Howell, who made $3,861,140.)

There’s a real difference between the haves and have-nots. Golf Digest estimates that of the 998 players listed on the World Money List , 527 won less than $100,000 last year.

Two of the guys in the top six aren’t even really playing anymore. Palmer earned $42,000 on the course, while Norman took home just over $127,000. Both of them are incredibly shrewd businessmen. Heck, Palmer hasn’t bean a real player in a couple of decades.  It shows, I think, the power of golf. How many NFL or NBA players, four decades removed from their prime are still earning income from their sport.

Vijay earned more on the course than anyone other than Tiger and Jim Furyk (who clocked in at number 8 on the list). Like Furyk, however, Vijay doesn’t appear to be earning endorsements equal to his status as a player. Vijay—other than Tiger, the only player in recent memory to hold the number one position—earns a quarter of what Tiger does in endorsements, and half of what Phil does. Furyk earns half of what Vijay does. Both Singh and Furyk should consider firing their agents.

I wonder, however, what Phil’s earnigns will look like in 2007, now that he has been dropped by Ford.

Does anyone find it odd that Michelle Wie—who is not a member of the LPGA, has yet to win a tournament, and hasn’t fulfilled her goal of makng a PGA Tour cut—is sixth overall? It shows that Team Wie is shrewd, indeed.

The overall list appears remarkably stable. Golf Digest says that 28 of the fifty have been on the list for the past four years including 15 of the top 16 in this year’s ranking. There’s just not a lot of turnover there.

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1 thought on “Golf’s Top Earners”

  1. It shows how much my Buckeyes are stinking it up when I am online during the 4th quarter. 

    Anyhow-  At least some of my $$ went to Arnie- my club is owned by his company.

    And if Michelle Wie is making 20 million, I feel a little less sorry for the critcism that gets dealt her way.  The question will be is if The Golf Channel starts covering the girl in last place on Thursdays and Fridays than the men at the top of the leaderboard.  Even if they do, I can’t see where that is worth the $20 million in sponsorships.

    But what do I know—I thought the Buckeyes weren’t going to blow it tonight.  Now it is 41-14…. I guess the SEC is better than the Big 10 afterall.


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