Sun. Sep 24th, 2023
The World’s Highest-Paid Golfers 2023

The Saudi-backed LIV Golf tour has supercharged the earnings of the sport’s major players—including two who earned additional than $one hundred million more than the previous year. What will the shotgun marriage with the PGA Tour imply for 2024? Far more players going for the green.

By Justin Birnbaum, Forbes Employees

Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson received nine-figure guarantees to leave the PGA Tour final year for LIV Golf, the Saudi-backed upstart league with deep petrodollar pockets that is mired in political controversy. Even following Tuesday’s surprise announcement of a partnership in between the warring tours, there nevertheless seems to be some threat, with quite a few PGA golfers criticizing the Tour’s leadership and regulatory issues looming.

Although quite a few of the particulars about how the reimagined tours will appear stay unclear, it seems that the gamble has currently paid off for Johnson, Mickelson and their LIV compatriots. The PGA Tour announced its intention to perform with LIV to establish a “a fair and objective process” for reinstatement into its ranks, presumably ending the ban of defectors. And it appears probably that they will get to retain their lofty paydays, also.

“Everything that the Saudis and the LIV employees had completed from the starting negotiations to signing, to all the drama with the PGA Tour and all the things, they’ve constantly kept their word,” an agent who represents many LIV golfers tells Forbes. “Going forward, I count on not just my players, but all LIV guys to continue receiving the similar remedy and all the things be honored.”

In addition to beginning an uncivil war in the sport, the astronomical signing bonuses have also realigned the fortunes of the major players. Upfront payments from LIV boosted the earnings of the 18 highest-paid golfers by additional than $500 million, with hundreds of millions additional coming on the backend if the guarantees are totally paid out. In total, the combined haul of golf’s most dominant earners reached just shy of $1.1 billion, Forbes estimates. The worth of the major ten rose 16% more than the previous year, although some of the LIV signing bonuses have been also reflected on Forbes‘ 2022 list of the highest-paid golfers and are integrated right here for a fair comparison of golfers’ total compensation.

The PGA Tour countered LIV’s bottomless bunker of money—it’s backed by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, which controls $620 billion in assets— by escalating its total prize revenue, 25% to $538 million for this season, additional than doubling the Player Influence System bonus pool to $one hundred million and trimming the field for the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

But the PGA’s hardline stance against LIV and shocking reversal, led by commissioner Jay Monahan, has left quite a few players who had the chance money in significant with LIV, searching like suckers. Tiger Woods was reportedly provided about $800 million to defect and Rory McIlory, who became the PGA Tour’s staunchest supporter by means of the saga, was believed to have received a substantial present as nicely, a notion he refuted this week ahead of the RBC Canadian Open.

“It’s tough for me to not sit up right here and somewhat really feel like a sacrificial lamb,” McIlory told reporters, when asked if players who turned down huge LIV revenue really should be created complete financially by the PGA Tour. “I’ve place myself out there and this is what takes place.”

Gallery: Top rated ten Highest-Paid Golfers 2023

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Assuming golf’s shotgun marriage passes regulatory scrutiny—and final terms will be ironed out more than the subsequent handful of months—there’s lots to sort out in the sport’s new planet order. Mostly, how a great deal handle will rest in the hands of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which will turn out to be a “premier corporate sponsor” of the PGA Tour and a big co-investor in the newly formed entity. The future of LIV itself is up in the air, though CEO and Commissioner Greg Norman reportedly told his employees that the league will continue.

A single issue is particular: Significantly additional revenue will flow into the sport, which suggests that players who discovered to drive for show and putt for dough will quickly be playing a complete new game.

Extra reporting by Brett Knight.


#1 • 111 Million

Dustin Johnson

On-Course: $106 Million | Off-Course: $five Million | Age: 38

cody Pickens for forbes

Dustin Johnson’s sponsor portfolio drastically evaporated when he became the 1st important star to jump to LIV Golf, but the move has only boosted his earnings. The captain of LIV’s 4Aces GC reportedly netted a $125 million assure from the breakaway Saudi golf series, half of which was believed to have been paid upfront. DJ then won LIV’s inaugural season-extended championship that came with an $18 million payday. All told, Johnson has earned additional than $40 million in LIV prize revenue, additional than half of his profession total on the PGA Tour.

#two • $107 million

Phil Mickelson

On-Course: $105 Million | Off-Course: $two Million | Age: 52

Hector Vivas/Getty Pictures

Regardless of a notable lighter steady of sponsors, largely due to his incendiary comments about Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and subsequent defection to LIV Golf, Mickelson has been busy away from the game of late. He cofounded coffee supplement organization For Wellness and joined an investor group that lately purchased a big plot of land outdoors of Phoenix. Mickelson, captain of LIV’s Hy Flyers group, reportedly received a $200 million assure to join the tour, half of which Forbes estimates he received upfront.

#three • $80 million

Rory McIlroy

On-Course: $40 Million | Off-Course: $40 Million | Age: 34

Andrew Redington/Getty Pictures

McIlroy won a thrilling FedEx Cup championship at the finish of final season, earning him an $18 million payday. Off the course, he’s also constructed a profitable investing small business that has taken stakes in the overall health tracking device Whoop, LetsGetChecked, a healthcare app, and TMRW Sports, which he founded with Tiger Woods.

#four • $77 million

Brooks Koepka

On-Course: $71 Million | Off-Course: $six Million | Age: 33

Michael Reaves/Getty Pictures

Brooks Koepka, a different LIV defector, took a two-shot lead into the final round of the 2023 Masters prior to surrendering the green jacket to Jon Rahm. Koepka didn’t have to wait extended for redemption, even so, winning at the PGA Championship in May possibly. It also created Koepka, who reportedly received half of a $one hundred million assure from LIV upfront, the series’ 1st important winner.

#five • $76 million

Cameron Smith

On-Course: $70 Million | Off-Course: $six Million | Age: 29

David Cannon/Getty Pictures

In 2022, Cam Smith parlayed victories at the British Open and Players Championship into a profitable assure from LIV Golf, reportedly about $one hundred million. Australia’s major-ranked golfer—and No. 9 in the world—also has sponsorships with Titleist and Original Penguin.

#six • $75 million

Tiger Woods

On-Course: $15 Million | Off-Course: $60 Million | Age: 47

Ross Kinnaird/Getty mages

It is unclear when—or even if—Tiger Woods will return to the golf course following ankle surgery in April. He undoubtedly has lots going on to keep busy in the meantime. Final year, Woods and McIlroy founded TMRW Sports, a tech-focused venture with plans to launch a new golf league named TGL. (Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian, along with Venus Williams, announced they’ve bought the 1st of six teams—Los Angeles Golf Club.) And Woods, the second athlete to attain billionaire status, could have been far richer this year—he turned down an present reportedly as higher as $800 million to join LIV.

#7 • $71 million

Bryson DeChambeau

On-Course: $70 Million | Off-Course: $1 Million | Age: 29

cody pickens for forbes

Prior to joining LIV in June 2022, DeChambeau had a wide variety of sponsors, which includes Cobra Puma Golf and Bridgestone. Now his steady has been pared down to Rolex, not that he’s hurting for money. DeChambeau, the captain of LIV’s Crushers GC, reportedly received a $125 million assure to join the Saudi-backed tour, half of which Forbes estimates he received upfront.

#eight • $53 million

Patrick Reed

On-Course: $50 Million | Off-Course: $three Million | Age: 32

Warren Tiny/Getty Image

More than his course of 11-year PGA profession, Patrick Reed created additional than $38 million. In the previous 12 months as a LIV golfer, he’s earned a tiny much less a third of that in prize revenue. Reed also has a quantity of partnerships, which includes Titlelist, Grindworks and EasyPost.

#9 • $52 million

Jon Rahm

On-Course: $27 Million | Off-Course: $25 Million | Age: 28

Patrick Smith/Getty Pictures

Rahmbo stormed into 2023, with back-to-back wins at the Sentry Tournament of Champions and The American Express Golf Tournament in January and a victory at the Genesis Invitational in February, crowning it all with his 1st Masters win, and second important championship, in April. The Spaniard has also has profitable sponsorship bargains with Mercedes, Callaway and Maestro Dobel Tequila.

#ten • $50 million

Scottie Scheffler

On-Course: $35 Million | Off-Course: $15 Million | Age: 26

Jonathan Bachman/Getty Pictures

Following a heartbreaking defeat in the FedEx Cup final year, Scheffler bounced back in 2023, earning wins at the Phoenix Open and The Players Championship, as nicely as 11 major ten finishes. In the course of action, the world’s No. 1 golfer has (for now) reclaimed his record for the most prize revenue earned in a PGA Tour standard season at $16.three million.

#11 (Tie) • $47 million

Jordan Spieth

On-Course: $17 Million | Off-Course: $30 Million | Age: 29

Abbie Parr/AP

Jordan Spieth narrowly missed repeating at the RBC Heritage Classic in April, losing to Matt Fitzpatrick in a playoff. The 3-time important winner, who is a PGA Championship away from a profession grand slam, remains 1 of the PGA Tour’s major pitchmen—he has bargains with Below Armour, AT&ampT, Fanduel and additional.

#11 (Tie) • $47 million

Sergio Garcia

On-Course: $44 Million | Off-Course: $three Million | Age: 43

Chris Trotman/Getty Pictures

Garcia punched his ticket to the 2023 U.S. Open the old-fashioned way, claiming fourth spot in dramatic style at the 36-hole qualifier, just weeks following failing to earn a spot at the PGA Championship. Softening the blow is additional than $11 million in LIV prize revenue he’s earned more than the previous 12 months. The captain of LIV’s Fireballs GC, Garcia counts Omega, Credit Suisse and Goodr amongst his sponsors.

#13 • $43 million

Joaquin Niemann

On-Course: $40 Million | Off-Course: $three Million | Age: 24

Luke Walker/Getty Pictures

Niemann was a late addition to LIV’s roster in 2022 and remains 1 of the game’s brightest young stars. The Chilean phenom has earned additional than $eight million in prize revenue on his new tour more than the previous 12 months.

#14 • $41 million

Talor Gooch

On-Course: $39 Million | Off-Course: $two Million | Age: 31

Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Pictures

Gooch became the 1st LIV golfer to win back-to-back events in April, surpassing his win total as a PGA Tour member in the course of action. These victories have place him firmly atop LIV’s 2023 prize revenue rankings, at practically $11 million.

#15 (Tie) • $39 million

Abraham Ancer

On-Course: $37 Million | Off-Course: $two Million | Age: 32

Tom Dulat/Getty Pictures

LIV Golf executives touted the signing of Ancer final year, with 1 saying he “brings the Mexican audience with him.” Though he is nevertheless chasing his 1st victory, Ancer netted a $1 million payday for winning the Saudi National tournament in February.

#15 (Tie) • $39 million

Bubba Watson

On-Course: $36 Million | Off-Course: $three Million | Age: 44

Christian Petersen/Getty Pictures

Injuries have taken a toll on Bubba Watson more than the previous handful of years, eventually pushing his LIV Golf debut to 2023. The captain of the RangeGoats GC, he has earned practically $three million in prize revenue by means of seven events, the most he’s earned on the course in a single season given that 2017-18.

#17 • $34 million

Branden Grace

On-Course: $33 Million | Off-Course: $1 Million | Age: 35

Katelyn Mulcahy/AP

Branden Grace pulled in just more than $12 million on the PGA Tour, which pales in comparison to his earnings as a LIV golfer. More than the final two seasons, which includes a win at LIV Golf’s Portland Invitational, he’s earned additional than $20 million in prize revenue in addition to an estimated eight-figure signing bonus to join the breakaway tour

#18 • $33 million

Xander Schauffele

On-Course: $23 Million | Off-Course: $ten Million | Age: 29

Chris Carlson/AP

Following 3 tournament wins in 2022, Schauffele has however to claim a PGA victory this season. But his constant play has him ranked at No. six in the planet. Schauffele has partnerships with Adidas and Callaway.


This year’s list of the world’s highest-paid golfers tracks earnings more than the final 12 months, dating to the 2022 U.S. Open. The on-course earnings figures contain prize revenue and bonuses, as nicely as upfront payments golfers received for signing with LIV Golf. Primarily based on conversations with a dozen sector sources, Forbes estimates major-tier LIV players received half of their guarantees upfront when decrease-tier players received smaller sized sums in bulk. (Some of these signing bonuses have been also reflected on Forbes’ 2022 list of the highest-paid golfers but are integrated right here for a fair comparison of golfers’ total compensation.) Bonuses from the PGA Tour’s Player Influence System are integrated in on-course earnings.

The off-course earnings figures are an estimate of sponsorship bargains, look costs and memorabilia and licensing earnings more than the final 12 months, plus money returns from any corporations in which the athlete has a important interest. Forbes does not contain investment earnings such as interest payments or dividends but does account for payouts from equity stakes athletes have sold. Forbes does not deduct for taxes or agents’ costs.

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