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As a sport, golf is considered one of the more lucrative professions worldwide.
Golfers can find a tournament any week of the year, as long as they are willing to travel to its location. Nor do they have to quit their sporting career because of age – some are perfectly active golfers even into their 60s.
As evidenced by records on the NetBet sport section, golf is growing in interest for sports and betting enthusiasts. The following countdown is to inform interested fans a bit more about the richest and most successful players in this field. (Rankings compiled by the website Celebrity Net Worth.)
10. Vijay Singh: $75 million.
The Fiji native is a three-time major winner who also captured the FedExCup crown in 2008. Singh’s numerous achievements include holding the world’s No.1 ranking for eight months in 2004 and ’05, displacing Tiger Woods after winning nine times in ’04. He was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame two years later.
9. Ernie Els: $85 million
Els’ achievements include two U.S. Opens (1993 and ’97), two Open Championships (2002 and ’12) and twice topping the European Tour’s Order of Merit. That earned him a spot in the Hall of Fame at the age of 40 – before his second Open Championship triumph. Some 90 percent of his total earnings have come on course, rather than marketing deals.
8. Rory McIlroy: $110 million
Less than a dozen years into his professional career, McIlroy already has a U.S. Open (2011), PGA Championship (2012) and Open Championship (2014) to his name, making him just the fourth man in history to win three majors by the age of 25. He also has spent 95 weeks atop the world rankings and won the FedExCup in 2016.
7. Fred Couples: $120 million
With the 1992 Masters green jacket among his 15 PGA Tour victories, Couples also is a a recent inclusion into the Hall of Fame. Now playing on the Champions Tour, he also has two senior majors to his portfolio. A highly sought endorser, much of his wealth comes from his campaigns as Bridgestone Golf’s ambassador and the face of Lynx Golf.
6. Gary Player: $250 million
Proving that golf knows no age limit, Player remains actively engaged at age 80 and long has claimed to be the most traveled man in the sport. Collected nine major titles – three Masters, three Open Championships, two PGA Championships and the 1965 U.S. Open. Has given over $100 million to help the underprivileged in South Africa.
5. Greg Norman: $300 million
Perhaps known more for his heartbreak in major championships, Norman did win 90 tournaments worldwide including 20 on the PGA Tour. He captured two Open Championships and spent 331 weeks atop the world rankings, more than anyone until Tiger Woods. The major part of his $300 million, though, stems from his Great White Shark business endeavors.
4. Jack Nicklaus: $320 million
Winning 18 majors made Nicklaus arguably the game’s greatest on the course, but he was astute enough to branch into other areas of the game. His Memorial Tournament is a late May staple on the PGA Tour, and he runs one of the world’s most sought-after design firms. Professional tournaments are conducted at more than 60 of his courses.
3. Phil Mickelson: $400 million
Though overshadowed by Tiger Woods’ rise at the turn of the century, Mickelson’s 42 PGA Tour victories lands him ninth on the all-time list. His popularity plays well in the endorsement world, currently representing KPMG, ExxonMobil, Titleist, Ford, Enbrel, Callaway, Amgen, Grayhawk, Rolex and Intrepid Financial Partners.
2. Arnold Palmer: $700 million
The first mega-endorser to emerge from the sporting world, Palmer’s success, daring play and good looks were a perfect fit for the new television age. Palmer’s 62 PGA Tour wins include seven majors, joining the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974. It’s estimated Palmer earned more than $1.3 billion from endorsements and entrepreneurial ventures.
1. Tiger Woods: $740 million
With 79 PGA Tour titles – 14 of them majors – and great marketing capacities, it’s no wonder Woods was the first athlete to cross the $1 billion mark in earnings/endorsements. Though a costly divorce and sponsor turnover after his 2009 sex scandal set him back, he still drew $48 million in endorsements while sitting out nearly all of 2015.