The top 19 richest golfers in the world
Golf: the sport of class, prestige, dignity, and upstanding gentleman and ladies alike (John Daly withstanding). With the winning purse for the Master’s tournament now over $10 million, it’s even more evident that with incredible club skill comes big paydays. And like any professional sport, endorsements just sweeten the pot. Let’s take a look at the richest golfers by net worth in 2019.
19. Luke Donald: $40 million
The former number one golfer in the world, Luke Donald is worth an estimated $40 million. The British pro golfer mainly plays on the PGA Tour, but he’s also a member of the European tour. Donald was named Player of the Year in 2011, and he held the number one golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking for 40 weeks.
Rory McIlroy ended Donald’s reign as the world’s number one golfer, but then Donald earned the title once again. In totla, he has spent a cumulative total of 56 weeks as the World Number One. He’s also spent more than 200 weeks in the top-10.
18. Padraig Harrington: $40 million
Irish golfer Padraig Harrington has played professionally since 1995, boasting more than 30 professional wins. He’s won three major championships: the Open Championship in 2007 and 2008, as well as the PGA Championship in 2008. Harrington has spent more than 300 weeks in the top-10 of the world rankings, and he ranked as high as third in July of 2008.
Harrington’s most recent win came in March of 2015. That year, he won the Honda Classic on the European PGA Tour, his first PGA win in seven years. In January 2019, he was named a captain for the 2020 Ryder Cup. Harrington is estimated to have a net worth of $40 million.
17. Lee Westwood: $42 million
Known for his consistency, Lee Westwood is one of a handful of golfers to win tournaments on five different continents. Named player of the year in 1998, 1999 and 2009, he is widely considered one of the best golfers to never win a major championship. Though he’s never won a major, Westwood has placed in the top-three at each tournament.
Though he hasn’t won a major, Westwood is one of the richest golfers in history, with an estimated net worth of $42 million. He was the golfer to take Tiger Woods’ place as the World Number One Golfer in 2010, holding the position for a total of 22 weeks. The British golfer has also represented Europe in 10 Ryder cups.
16. Lee Trevino: $45 million
Retired pro golfer Lee Trevino is one of the most accomplished golfers in the history of the sport. The Mexican-American was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1981, retiring as one of the wealthiest golfers in the world. His estimated net worth is $45 million.
Trevino is one of just four players to win the U.S. Open, The Open Championship, and the PGA Championship multiple times. But despite his six major wins, Trevino never managed to win The Masters. The golfer won the Vardon Tropy for scoring the lowest average on five different occasions spanning from 1970-1980.
15. Annika Sorenstam: $47 million
One of the most successful golfers in the history of the sport and richest female athletes, Annike Sorenstam has the most wins of any female golfer. The retired, Swedish-born golfer won 90 international tournaments and 72 official LPGA tournaments — including 10 majors — in her career.
Sorenstam was an eight-time Player of the Year, which is a record in itself. She also won six Vare Trophies for having the lowest seasonal scoring average. The Swede is the only female golfer to ever shoot a 59 in a competition. In 2003, she also played in the Bank of America Colonial tournament, becoming the first woman to play in a PGA Tour event since 1945. Sorenstam is estimated to be worth around $47 million.
14. Adam Scott: $48 million
Australian golfer Adam Scott has been one of the most successful golfers of the millennium, with 29 international tournament wins. From mid-May to August 2014, Scott was the World Number One Golfer. The accomplished golfer has an estimated net worth of $48 million and is one of the world’s richest golfers.
Scott’s biggest tournament win was the 2013 Masters Tournament, his first and only major championship. With his victory, he became the first Australian to ever win the Masters. Though he hasn’t won another major, Scott was the runner-up in the 2012 Open Championship and finished third in two different PGA Championship events.
13. Jim Furyk: $60 million
Champion of the FedEx Cup and PGA Player of the Year in 2010, Jim Furyk is one of the richest American golfers in history. Though he only has one major championship to his name, the 2003 U.S. Open, Furyk has won more than 25 international tournaments throughout his career.
Furyk holds the record for the lowest score in PGA Tour history. In the last round of the 2016 Travelers Championship, he shot an incredible 58. That year, he ranked second in the Official World Golf Ranking. Furky spent more than 430 weeks ranked as a top-10 golfer between the years of 1995 to 2015. He’s worth an estimated $60 million.
12. Nick Faldo: $60 million
Sir Nick Faldo is a retired British pro golfer who currently works as a golf analyst. But as a player, Faldo was one of the top players of his generation. Ranked as the top golfer on the Official World Golf Ranking for a total of 97 weeks, the golfer racked up 41 professional wins in his career.
The British golfer won six major championships: three at The Open Championship, and three at The Masters Tournament. Though he failed to win the U.S. Open and PGA Championships, Faldo finished as a runner-up in both tournaments. Faldo’s respective careers as a golfer and broadcaster have contributed to his estimated net worth of $60 million.
11. Sergio Garcia: $70 million
With more than 450 weeks spent as a top-10 golfer in the world, Sergio Garcia has become one of the top PGA golfers of all-time. The Spanish golfer is widely recognized for his wins in the 2008 Players Championship and the 2017 Masters Tournament. He has more than 30 professional wins throughout his career.
Spanish pro golfer Sergio Garcia has spent the majority of his professional golfing career in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking. With more than 30 international tournament wins, Garcia has spent more than 450 weeks ranked as a top-1o golfer. The Spaniard reached his highest career ranking (second) after winning the HSBC Champions tournament in November 2008.
11. “El Niño”
Long known for his inability to win a major tournament, Garcia finally came out with a major victory in the 2017 Masters Tournament. The Spaniard’s first major tournament victory came when he was 37 years old, well into his already impressive career.
Garcia has been recognized for his strong iron play and accuracy. The Spaniard has been excellent throughout the years, especially competing in the Ryder Cup. Garcia has participated in nine of the 10 Ryder Cup matches during his career, earning a record 25.5 points during those matches. The golfer is estimated to have a net worth of $70 million.
10. Vijay Singh: $75 million
The best Fijian pro golfer in history and one of the richest golfers of all-time, Vijay Singh has had a remarkable golfing career with the PGA. Singh turned professional in 1982 and has remained a pro for nearly four decades. The leading PGA Tour Money winner in 2003, 2004, and 2008, Singh was one of golf’s brightest talents in the early 2000s.
In 2004, Singh claimed the number one rank in the Official World Golf Ranking, holding the position for 32 weeks across 2004 and 2005. Singh won his first major in 1998: the PGA Championship. He’d later win another PGA Championship tournament, as well as a Masters Tournament.
10. “The Big Fijian”
Singh is known for the meticulous preparation he put into his craft. He was often among the first at the range before an event, and he’d often spend hours after each event working on his game. The Fijian golfer was elected into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2005.
Singh’s dominance as a golfer and longevity as a professional have helped him become one of the richest golfers in the world, in addition to one of the sport’s greatest players ever. Throughout his career, Singh has won more than 30 international tournaments. His estimated net worth is $75 million.
9. Rory McIlroy: $80 million
One of four players to win three majors by the age of 25, Rory McIlroy is one of the best professional golfers in history. Hailing from Northern Ireland, McIlroy had a successful amateur career before he went pro. As a 17-year-old, he topped the World Amateur Golf Ranking for a week.
Once he turned professional, McIlroy quickly established himself on the European Tour. His first win on the tour came in 2009, and his first PGA Tour win came a year later. By 2012, he’d become the youngest player to reach 10 million euros in career earnings on the European Tour and the youngest to reach $10 million on the PGA tour.
9. “Wee Mac”
By the time McIlroy was 25, he’d already won three majors. He’d also held the top position in the Official World Golf Ranking for a total of 95 weeks. At age 30, McIlroy has won four major tournaments and has already totaled more than 20 international tournament wins.
McIlroy holds the U.S. Open record with a score of -16, and he holds the record for the largest margin of victory (8 strokes) at the PGA Championship. The golfer hailing from Northern Ireland has been named RTE Sports Person of the Year twice, and is estimated to be worth $80 million.
8. Ernie Els: $85 million
The greatest South African professional golfer in history, Ernie Els is one of the most accomplished — and richest — golfers of all-time. Known as “The Big Easy” due to his imposing 6-foot-3 stature, Els has won more than 70 tournaments over the course of his career.
Els is one of just six golfers to win both the U.S. Open and The Open Championship multiple times. He won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997, and he won The Open Championship in 2002 and 2012. Though he won four major championships, Els never won The Masters or PGA Championship. However, he finished in the top-three in both of those tournaments on four separate occasions.
8. “The Big Easy”
Els has won a lot of money in his career. In 2003 and 2004, he topped the European Tour Order of Merit, winning the most money of any player on the tour in both years. He was also the first member of the tour to win more than 25 million euros from European Tour events and, prior to 2011, was the leading career money winner on the tour.
Formerly the top golfer in the Official World Golf Ranking, Els held the record for weeks ranked in the top-10 with 788 up until 2013. The golfer’s incredibly dominant career has earned him a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame. He has an estimated net worth of $85 million.
7. Fred Couples: $120 million
Former World Number One golfer Fred Couples is another accomplished player who also happens to be very rich. With more than 60 professional tournament wins throughout his career, Couples earned the nickname “Boom Boom” for his ability to drive the ball long and accurately off the tee.
The American golfer was named PGA Tour Player of the Year in 1991 and 1992, and he also won the Vardon Trophy for having the lowest scoring average in each of those two years. Couples also won the Masters in 1992, his first and only major championship before he moved to the Senior PGA Tour.
7. “Boom Boom”
Couples eventually joined the Senior PGA Tour, and his success continued. In 2011, the golfer won the 2011 Senior Players Championship. A year later, he won The Senior Open Championship. He was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2013.
After an impressive career in which he spent 16 weeks as the number one golfer in the world, Couples is now one of the richest golfers in history. He led the PGA Tour in earnings in 1992, and the longevity he has sustained as a golfer has paid huge dividends despite a lack of major victories. Couples is estimated to have a net worth of about $120 million.
6. Gary Player: $250 million
One of the greatest golfers of all-time, Gary Player is also one one of the richest golfers in the world. The South African won nine major championships on the regular tour and nine major championships on the Champions Tour throughout his career. He won more than 160 tournaments throughout his career.
At the age of 29, Player became the only non-American to win all four majors in a career (known as the career Grand Slam). At the time, he was also the youngest to accomplish the feat, though that record has since been broken. Only five players have ever completed a career Grand Slam.
6. “The Black Knight”
The South African golfer was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974. But his accomplishments in golf aren’t limited exclusively to what he managed to achieve on the course. Player is also a renowned golf course architect, with more than 400 design projects on five different continents.
Player has also excelled as an author, having authored or co-written more than 35 different books on the sport of golf. For his efforts on and off the course, Player has earned the nickname the International Ambassador of Golf. His estimated net worth hovers around $250 million, thanks to successful careers as an athlete, architect and author.
5. Greg Norman: $300 million
Australian Greg Norman is one of the greatest golfers of all-time. With more than 85 professional tournament victories to his name, Norman is not only the best player in the history of his country; he’s also one of the richest players the sport has ever seen.
Norman was a phenomenal golfer, earning 30 top-10 finishes in major tournaments throughout his career. He was also the runner-up eight times in majors, throughout his career. Norman won 20 PGA Tour tournaments, as well as two majors: the Open Championships in 1986 and 1993. Norman was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2001.
5. “The Great White Shark”
Norman earned the nickname “The Shark” due to his play at the 1981 Masters, as a reference to his blond hair and aggressive golf style. He’s also been a shark off the course, becoming the CEO of his own global corporation: the Greg Norman Company.
Norman’s professional and entrepreneurial careers have both been highlighted by his philanthropic efforts. The golfer has donated to and established several charities and charity events, like the QBE Shootout which benefits the CureSearch for Children’s Cancer fund. Norman is a sports legend, a successful businessman and one of the more charitable athletes the sport of golf has ever seen. His net worth is estimated to be about $300 million.
4. Jack Nicklaus: $320 million
Believed by many to be the greatest golfer of all-time, Jack Nicklaus is also one of the richest golfers in history. Nicklaus won a record 18 major championships over the course of his career, which lasted for more than 25 years. Nicklaus has played in more major championships than any other player, competing in 164 throughout his career.
Nicklaus is one of a handful of golfers to win every major championship, and his 73 PGA Tour victories rank third all-time behind Sam Snead (82) and Tiger Woods (81). Nicklaus had six wins at the Masters, four wins at the U.S. Open, three wins at the Open Championship, and five wins at the PGA Championship.
4. “The Golden Bear”
Like many others on the list, Nicklaus’ career has evolved beyond golf. The golf legend has ventured into other areas as well, getting involved in charity work, book writing, and golf course design. Nicklaus is a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects.
Nicklaus also runs an event on the PGA Tour, called the Memorial Tournament. He owns one of the largest golf course design companies in the world. The golf legend’s “Golf My Way” is considered one of the best instructional books on golf of all-time. After decorated careers as a golfer and architect, Nicklaus is worth an estimated $320 million.
3. Phil Mickelson: $375 million
Spending more than 25 consecutive years in the top-50 of the Official World Golf Ranking, Phil Mickelson is one of the most consistently dominant players of all-time. With more than 40 PGA Tour wins, Mickelson is one of only 16 players in golf history to win at least three of the four majors.
Of Mickelson’s five major championship wins, three came at the Masters, one came at the PGA Championship, and one came at the Open Championship. Mickelson has never been able to master the U.S. Open, and he’s finished as a runner-up in the tournament a record six times.
Mickelson was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012, but he’s been golfing for nearly a decade since his induction. He’s spent more than 700 weeks in the top-10 of the Official World Golf Ranking and more than 25 consecutive years in the top-50 of the ranking.
The San Diego, California native has earned the nickname “Lefty” for his left-handed swing, which he learned by mirroring his father’s swing. The golfer’s massive success and year-over-year consistency have helped him become one of golf’s most dominant and richest players. He’s estimated to have a net worth of about $375 million.
2. Arnold Palmer: $700 million
Born in 1929, Arnold Palmer is widely regarded as the greatest golfer to ever play the game. Nicknamed “The King,” Palmer was a pioneer in the PGA and the first superstar of the sport’s television age when the game made its way to TV in the 1950s.
No professional golfer had quite the social impact for the sport like Palmer did. The golfer’s emergence as a humble, charismatic superstar helped change the perception of golf from an elite, upper-class sport to a sport that is accessible and fun for players of all types. One of the most talented golfers of all-time, Palmer also won a lot of tournaments.
2. “The King”
Palmer played professional golf for more than six decades, winning more than 60 PGA Tour titles. As of 2019, he ranks fifth on the PGA Tour’s all-time victory list, trailing Sam Snead, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, and Ben Hogan. The iconic golfer had one of the greatest hot streaks ever, winning seven major tournaments over a six-year stretch.
One of the 13 original inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame, Palmer also won the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998. The golf trailblazer passed away in 2016, and he was estimated to have a net worth of about $700 million when he passed.
1. Tiger Woods: $850 million
Ranked second in both major championships and PGA Tour wins, Tiger Woods is the best golfer of his generation and one of the most iconic athletes of all-time. One of the highest paid athletes of all-time, Woods has been a superstar since he became a professional.
It took Woods less than a year to first reach the number one position in the world rankings, and he has been the top-ranked golfer in the world for more than 540 weeks — that’s 10 years — throughout his career. Woods has won every major tournament at least three times, and as of 2019, he’s up to 15 major tournament wins.
1. Just “Tiger”
Woods has been the World Number One golfer for the most consecutive weeks of any professional, and he’s held the position for the greatest total number weeks as well. He’s earned the PGA Player of the Year award a record 11 times, and he’s led the money list in a record 10 different seasons.
With all of his dominance throughout the decades considered, it’s no shock that Tiger Woods tops the list of the world’s richest golfers. The superstar golfer had a run of dominance that more than likely will never be matched. Woods is estimated to be worth $850 million.
Honorable mention: Patty Berg
She’s no Tiger Woods, but Patty Berg is one of the most important golfers in the history of the sport. Berg was a founding member and leading player on the LPGA Tour during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. With 15 major title wins, Berg holds the all-time record for most major wins by a female golfer.
Berg’s historic career earned her a spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame and left a legacy that will always be remembered, even after she passed away in 2006. The women’s golf pioneer was estimated to have a net worth of $85 million before her passing.
Honorable mention: Mickey Wright
Former LPGA Tour professional Mickey Wright is another iconic figure in the history of women’s golf. Wright became a member of the tour in 1955 before eventually becoming one of its most dominant players. The golfer would go on to win 13 major championships and 82 LPGA Tour career events, racking up a massive amount of prize money.
Wright, now a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, is estimated to be worth $24 million. The 84-year-old is one of only a handful of golfers to win a women’s major, and she’s arguably one of the best two or three golfers in the history of the sport.
Honorable mention: Louise Suggs
Another founder of the LPGA Tour, Louise Suggs grew to become another legend of women’s golf. Only the aforementioned Patty Berg and Mickey Wright have more LPGA major championship wins than Suggs’ 11. In total, Suggs ended her career with 58 professional tournament victories.
From 1950 to 1960, Suggs finished in the top three of the season-ending money list in all but one year of the decade. She was an inaugural inductee into the LPGA Tour Hall of Fame in 1967, and just over a decade later she was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. At the time of her death in 2015, Suggs was estimated to have a net worth of about $8 million.
Honorable mention: Walter Hagen
Widely considered to be one of the greatest golfers in history, Walter Hagen is third behind Jack Nicklaus and Tigers Woods for the most majors of all-time. Had Hagen’s 11 professional major victories come a few decades later, he would’ve been an even richer man. With 45 total PGA wins in his career, Hagen was one of the most dominant golfers of his era.
At the time of his passing in 1969, Hagen was estimated to be worth roughly $20 million. Had he played in an era where the prize winnings were more lucrative, the World Golf Hall of Famer would likely be worth hundreds of millions more.
One of the most multi-talented athletes in history, Babe Zaharias was an exceptional athlete in a variety of sports. In addition to golf, Zaharias was also an accomplished basketball, baseball, and track and field athlete. Prior to her professional golfing career, she won two gold medals in track and field at the 1932 Summer Olympics.
Zaharias was one of the greatest golfers in PGA history. With 10 LPGA major championship victories to her name — tied with Annika Sorenstam for fourth of all-time — Zaharias is widely regarded as one of the greatest female athletes of all-time. At her time of death, Zaharias’ net worth was estimated to be $1 million.
Honorable mention: Ben Hogan
One of just five golfers to have won all four major championships, Ben Hogan is in good company. The other four: Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Gary Player, and Gene Sarazen. Hogan is best known for the influence he had on golf swing theory. He’s also said to have had a legendary ability to strike the ball in a way few others could.
Hogan’s nine career major championship victories ties him with Gary Player for fourth of all-time, trailing three golfers who have already made this list. When he passed away in 1997, Hogan was estimated to have a net worth around $10 million.
Honorable mention: Tom Watson
Virtually no golfer has managed to match the incredible longevity of Tom Watson. One of the leading players in the world throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Watson remained competitive until he was nearly 60 years old. Watson won eight major championships, though he couldn’t manage to complete the grand slam with a PGA Championship victory.
Nevertheless, given Watson’s dominance and longevity, it’s easy to imagine that he racked up a lot of prize money throughout his career. Watson has also won six Senior major championships, complementing his incredibly accomplished career. Watson is estimated to be worth about $25 million in 2019.
Honorable mention: Betsy Rawls
With eight major championship victories and 55 LPGA Tour event wins throughout her career, Betsy Rawls is undoubtedly one of the greatest golfers in the history of the LPGA. The World Golf Hall of Fame member earned the LPGA Vare Trophy in 1959 after finishing the year with the lowest scoring average. It was also the second year she was the tour’s leading money winner.
Rawls finished in the top 10 on the money list nine times in total, and she led the tour in wins three times. Since her retirement, Rawls went on to become a tournament director for the LPGA Tour. She is estimated to have a net worth of about $1 million.
Honorable mention: Karrie Webb
The winningest active golfer on the LPGA Tour, Australian golfer Karrie Webb has racked up some major prize winnings throughout her career. With 57 professional wins, including seven major championships, Webb is tied for seventh-place on the all-time LPGA major championships list. Webb’s success began back in 1996, when she won LPGA Rookie of the Year and topped the year end money list.
Webb topped the LPGA year end money list three times throughout her career, and she was named LPGA Tour Player of the Year in the latter two of those three years. Still playing professionally in 2019, Webb is estimated to be worth roughly $15 million.
Honorable mention: Gene Sarazen
One of the world’s best golfers in the 1920s and 1930s, Gene Sarazen is in rare company in golfing history. The World Golf Hall of Fame member is one of just five players to win the Career Grand Slam, earning victories in the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, The Open Championship, and Masters Tournament.
Sarazen finished his career with 49 professional wins, and in 1996, he was awarded the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award. He passed away in 1999, at the age of 97 years old. At the time of his passing, Sarazen was estimated to have a net worth of about $17 million.
Honorable mention: Rickie Fowler
Rickie Fowler has a career-best ranking of #4 in the Official World Golf Ranking following his win in Abu Dhabi at the HSBC Golf Championship. Amazingly, he is a self-taught golfer who showed promise at a young age when he won the SW League Final while still in school.
Fowler has been raking it in between tournament winnings and sponsorships. He has a net worth of roughly $20 Million and was named the seventh highest-paid golfer by Forbes in 2015 which has steadily increased since.