Here’s how golf’s highest earners stack up against other sports stars
LIV Golf has injected tons of money into the sport over the last several years, and the players on the Saudi-backed tour have been the biggest beneficiaries. With guaranteed contracts combined with weekly purses of $25 million, there’s plenty of cash to be made every time they tee it up.
With those gaudy sums up for grabs, it should come as no surprise that the two highest-paid golfers in the world play on the LIV Golf circuit. According to Forbes, Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson were the two highest earners in golf over the past 12 months, occupying the sixth and seventh spots in the overall sports top 10.
Johnson, who spurned the PGA Tour in favor of LIV Golf last summer, holds the honor of the world’s highest-paid golfer, earning $107 million since May 2022. An overwhelming majority of that total ($102 million) came in on-course earnings, with Johnson leading the tour in prize money during its inaugural season, including winning the individual season-long title.
His off-course earnings took a hit when he lost sponsorships for joining LIV Golf, but those losses were more than offset by the lucrative year he had inside the ropes. According to Forbes, Johnson made the biggest leap up their rankings year over year, going from outside the top 50 to being one of the highest-paid athletes in sports.
Mickelson, one of the first stars to pledge allegiance to LIV Golf, holds the title as the second highest-earning golfer in the game. Over the past 12 months, the 52-year-old has earned a whopping $106 million. And, like Johnson, most of that sum came in on-course earnings, with the six-time major champ making $104 million inside the ropes.
For the second year in a row, a soccer star tops the charts. Cristiano Ronaldo was named to the top spot with earnings of $136 million. Lionel Messi, last year’s highest earner, comes in second with $130 million, while fellow soccer star Kylian Mbappé rounds out the top three at $120 million.
Check out the entire top 10 below.
Forbes highest-paid athletes
1. Cristiano Ronaldo — $136 million
2. Lionel Messi — $130 million
3. Kylian Mbappé — $120 million
4. LeBron James — $119.5 million
5. Canelo Álvarez — $110 million
6. Dustin Johnson — $107 million
7. Phil Mickelson — $106 million
8. Stephen Curry — $100.4 million
9. Roger Federer — $95.1 million
10. Kevin Durant — $89.1 million