Golf Digest has released its exclusive ranking of the top 50 earners in golf, both on and off the course. The eighth annual list was put together with the help of countless Golf Digest interviews and compiled by Ron Sirak.
Not surprisingly, Tiger Woods, who turned 35 on Dec. 30, leads the way once again. What may turn some heads, however, is that his overall earnings for 2010 went down a cool $48 million from what he made in 2009. In other words, Woods lost more money than any other player made, including No. 2 Phil Mickelson.
Then again, considering all he has gone through in the past year, perhaps it's even more amazing that Woods still managed to make $74.2 million.
Other impressive stats? How about 81-year-old Arnold Palmer pulling in $36 million despite not playing in one official event to place third. Or Jim Furyk jumping up six spots to No. 6 thanks in large part to that big bonus for winning the FedEx Cup. And Lee Westwood may be the current No. 1 player in the world, but he only checks in at No. 9 on this list to barely pass a player who had to take a break from the game altogether in Sergio Garcia.
Of course, sometimes there's a lag between success on the course and a player cashing in. Graeme McDowell ($9,714,379 total) went from unranked to No. 14 following a dream season that included claiming the U.S. Open and becoming a Ryder Cup hero. But you can be sure the native of Northern Ireland will easily crack the $10 million barrier next year when the new endorsements he's picked up start to kick in.
Same goes for Matt Kuchar and Martin Kaymer, who each earned more than $9 million this year despite making a relatively small amount from things other than tournament earnings. And who knew the soft-spoken and not-particularly-flashy Zach Johnson made more money off the course ($4.5 million) than Michelle Wie?
But regardless if a player saw his/her earnings rise or fall in 2010, one thing is for sure. If you're on this list, you're doing pretty well for yourself.
-- Alex Myers