Sportico’s annual list of the 100 highest-paid athletes in the world included a pair of pro golf megastars whose earning power is apparently impervious to long periods of inactivity.
Tiger Woods, who didn’t play a competitive round of golf in 2021 as he recovered from the injuries he sustained in a rollover wreck in February, actually jumped three spots to finish 10th on the list with a total of $$73.5 million earned over the past 12 months ($65 million of which came from endorsements).
Rory McIlroy (39th, $38.4 million) and Jordan Spieth (85th, $31.3 million) represented the game’s younger sect while Phil Mickelson, who vanished from the public eye in February after apologizing for his controversial comments about the LIV Golf Series, ranked 44th with $37.1 million. At 51, Lefty was the oldest athlete to make the list.
🚨The highest-paid athletes in the world: top 100
Nike, including its Jordan Brand, is an endorsement partner of at least 42 athletes, while Adidas has a minimum of 16 athletes in its stable and PepsiCo 14 (Sportico could not confirm sponsors of all 100 athletes.) pic.twitter.com/hSDnAM8AmS
— Sportico (@Sportico) May 11, 2022
NBA superstar LeBron James jumped four spots to wrest the crown for highest-paid athlete away from MMA fighter Conor McGregor. James supplemented his $36.9 million base salary with $90 million in endorsements to clear a total of $126.9 million
Rounding out the top 10 were soccer players Lionel Messi (2nd, $122 million), Cristiano Ronaldo (3rd, $115 million) and Neymar (fourth, $103 million); boxer Canelo Alvarez (fifth, $89 million), hoops stars Stephen Curry (sixth, $86.2 million), Kevin Durant (seventh, $85.9 million) and James Harden (ninth, $76 million); and tennis legend Roger Federer (eighth, $85.7 million).
You might be wondering how Woods managed to rack up more than $8 million in supposed on-course earnings; it’s his haul from collecting the lion’s share of the inaugural Player Impact Program bonus pool — which he also won without playing any competitive golf.
Sportico also reported that Mickelson banked $30 million in endorsements before sponsors Workday, KPMG and Amstel Light dropped him this past March. Rolex has retained him as an ambassador, per Sportico.
American athletes accounted for 69 of the 100 spots. It’s also notable that the list includes 41 newcomers. Click here to see the full list.