Highest-paid athletes list: LIV golfers score big

Joey Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The controversial move from the PGA Tour to the upstart LIV Golf League paid off handsomely for Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson.

The two golfers ranked Nos. 6 and 7, respectively, on Forbes’ annual list of the world’s highest-paid athletes. Johnson raked in $107 million and Mickelson $106 million over the past 12 months, almost all of it on the course with little in endorsements.

Soccer players Cristiano Ronaldo ($136 million), Lionel Messi ($130 million) and Kylian Mbappe ($120 million) led the list, followed by Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James ($119.5 million) and boxer Canelo Alvarez ($110 million).

Following Johnson and Mickelson on the list to round out the top 10 were Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry ($100.4 million), retired tennis great Roger Federer ($95.1 million) and Kevin Durant ($89.1 million) of the Phoenix Suns.

For Federer, $95 million came in the form of endorsement money; he earned just $100,000 on the court.

In all, a dozen golfers finished in the top 50 richest athletes, with seven of them on the fledgling Saudi-backed LIV tour.

Rory McIlroy ranked 15th ($80.8 million), followed by Tiger Woods ($76.1 million). At No. 17 was LIV’s Cameron Smith ($73 million) with No. 18 Brooks Koepka ($72 million) and No. 20 Bryson DeChambeau ($69 million).

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm (No. 28), Jordan Spieth (No. 43) and Scottie Scheffler (No. 45) also ranked in the top 50, as did LIV’s Patrick Reed (No. 32) and Sergio Garcia (No. 46).

The earnings of the golfers dwarfed those of tennis players. Only Federer and the retired Serena Williams cracked the top 50. Williams was the only woman in the top 50.

Among other team sports, No. 12 Russell Wilson ($85 million) was the biggest-earning football player and Max Scherzer was the only baseball player on the list, ranking No. 26 with earnings of $56.7 million.

–Field Level Media

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