More than Tiger Woods? These Are the Four Millionaires in the Golf Industry

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A sport that is increasingly producing higher figures and that makes it a very profitable discipline in the midst of a process of change due to the new Saudi investment. Find out which are the most favored athletes in this situation .

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LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano

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Leer en español: ¿Más que Tiger Woods? Estos son los cuatro millonarios de la industria del golf

The main reason seems to be in the Saudi League, a competition that not only caused controversy in golf, but also, due to its coveted prizes, caused the list of highest paid golfers in the world to change. Today there are four golfers, well ahead of the rest of their colleagues and even some famous names in other sports.

The aforementioned event, known as the breakaway LIV Golf tournament, is owned by the sovereign wealth fund of Saudi Arabia and is based on a wealth of 620 billion dollars, as well as several attractions. For example, it is faster than the PGA with a 54-hole format played over three days. It has changed the essence of the sport, as it allows loud music before the tee shot. Of course, it is less frequent than the PGA.

Everything indicates that in the next two years, this format will be richer and will definitely consolidate. The Saudi Arabian government will inject an estimated $2.4 billion into the LIV, with the primary goal of attracting the circuit's top talent. The competition increased the earnings of the 10 highest-paid golfers by an estimated $370 million since May, raising their value to $650 million. An irrefutable proposal.

Happy and Highly Paid

“I wanted to be part of something from scratch,” US Open 2020 winner Bryson DeChambeau told Forbes Argentina, when he joined this new tournament in June. “The resources, the time, the rest, and then the enjoyment factor was why I wanted to and was able to take that leap.” De Chambeau would get more than $125 million in LIV collateral, an estimated half of which he received upfront.

Specifically, it was that payment of 62 million dollars that took the aforementioned golfer to number 3 in the ranking of the best paid in the world, with total earnings before taxes of 86 million dollars in the last 12 months, and that also place him as the 11th highest-paid athlete on the planet, ahead of NFL footballer Tom Brady. However, today, he no longer leads that select podium.

Forbes Magazine itself assures that Phil Mickelson, who contradictory is not going through his best sporting moment, entered his account about 138 million dollars in the last year, surpassing the soccer player Lionel Messi, who currently receives 130 million.

Of those almost 200 million dollars that Mickelson would have insured for entering LIV Golf, “Lefty”, like De Chambeau, would have already received half of that amount, with which he would accompany his colleague Tiger Woods as one of the athletes that surpassed the historical barrier of one billion dollars in prizes.

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If the income from prizes and sponsorships obtained just one year before June 2022 is taken into account, the most up-to-date list is the one headed by Tiger Woods with 68 million dollars, with a notable difference over Phil Mickelson who was second with 45, 3 and on Rory McIlroy, who closed the podium with 41, 5. Fourth place went to Dustin Johnson, who at some point also held third place.

But if we only talk about this 2022, the ranking changes remarkably, since the highest paid golfers, after Mickelson, are Dustin Johnson (US$ 97 million), the aforementioned DeChambeau (US$ 86 million), Brooks Koepka (US$ 69 million) and Woods ($68 million). As explained by Forbes, the list tracks earnings between July 3, 2021, and July 3, 2022, coinciding with the completion of the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic and LIV Golf's Portland Invitational.

The respected publication, Argentina edition, concluded that the figures for earnings on the course include bonuses and cash prizes, in addition to the aforementioned advance payments, which change according to the golfer's category. For example, higher level LIV players receive half of their guarantees up front, while lower level players receive lower sums.

The Negative Side

But all this can not be so perfect, some red detail must have, and yes, it does. The PGA cannot continue to hold membership to those who have defected. For this reason, no more PGA Tour, no Players Championships and no more international competition in the Ryder Cup. Today they look less attractive, but they are still the competitions of heart and tradition. Something similar to what could happen in football with the Champions League and the Super League.

However, it should be noted that Saudi-backed golfers are still allowed to compete in the Masters and the other three golf majors, since none are run by the PGA. Competing on both fronts widens your profit margin.

Although elite golf is not the NFL, the NBA, international soccer or horse racing -specialties of great international scope-, it is a discipline in which betting moves with great force, actions through which golfers make money.

The Merits of the Wealthy

Mickelson is in his best year financially. With 50 years in tow, his name continues to appear among the most popular golfers in the world. His reputation is very well-earned and recently confirmed with his title in the PGA Championship, to be officially the oldest golfer to win a tournament of that importance.

In the list of the highest paid, there is a detail that distinguishes Dustin Johnson above the rest, and that is that he is the one with the largest number of prize money so far. Johnson picked up the biggest payday of his career in 2021 when he earned $15 million for clinching the tour championship and the FedEx Cup.

Woods had earned a total of $62.2 million, of which $62 million was off course and $191,000 in prize money. Despite his inactivity due to a tragic car accident earlier this year, surprisingly, he remains in the race to be the highest paid golfer, supported by his popularity in the young adult population. His weapons are dedication and technique.

Little has been said about Rory McIlroy, who earned $32.8 million, with $4.8 in prize money and the other $28 million as off-course winnings. The Northern Irishman never goes unnoticed, despite the fact that a large part of his earnings come from investments and not from golf. McIlroy is the director of Dublin-based venture capital firm Symphony Ventures.