Every kid dreams about playing in the NFL, NBA, or MLB at one time or another growing up. They want to be on the big stage making the big tackle, clutch shot, or game-winning catch to win the championship. Of course being on that stage will also mean making the kind of money that comes with being a superstar in your given sport.
The money in the NFL, NBA, and MLB is pretty nice, but if you wanted to make even better money without the threat of severe brain injury, getting hit by a ball travelling 100 miles per hour, or go through the grind of the NBA season there is an option.
While golfers do not make the insane amount of money that NFL, NBA, and MLB players do they more than make up for it in endorsements. The 15 highest paid players in the NFL made $391 million last year with just $57 million of that (15 percent) coming from endorsements and other activities off the field. The 15 highest paid golfers made $333,978,058 last year, but $301,500,000 (more than 90 percent) of that came from endorsements and other off course activities.
There is a bigger disparity between the top 15 golfers than there is among the top 15 NFL players so if you take the golf route it will pay to be among the best, but even if you are not career longevity can certainly make up for that.
While only one golfer has ever earned more than $100 million on the course (Tiger Woods), there have been 16 guys that have made over $100 million playing football. However, over the course of his 21 years in golf, Tiger Woods has earned more than $1.4 billion between his on course and off course earnings.
For the last 13 years Tiger Woods has lived on top of golf's money list, but in 2015 he dropped down to No. 3. No need to feel sorry for him though. He still made $48.5 million (only one NFL player made more—Ben Roethlisberger with $48.9 million).
The 15 highest paid golfers in 2015 were:
15. Zack Johnson: $11,228,154 ($5,728,154 on course; $5.5 off course
14. Greg Norman: $12 million (all off course)
13. Dustin Johnson: $12,209,467 ($6,209,467 on course; $6,000,000 off course)
12. Henrik Stenson: $13,513,827 ($8,513,827 on course: $5,000,000 off course)
11. Bubba Watson: $14,289,297 ($8,289,297 on course: $6,000,000 off course)
10. Gary Player: $15,000,000 (all off course)
9. Justin Rose: $15,119,762 ($7,119,762 on course; $8,000,000 off course)
8. Rickie Fowler: $17,254,416 ($8,254,416 on course; $9,000,000 off course)
7. Jason Day: $19,438,330 ($11,938,330 on course; $7,500,000 off course)
6. Jack Nicklaus: $22,041,500 ($41,500 on course; $22,000,000 off course)
5. Arnold Palmer: $40 million (all off course)
4. Rory Mcilroy: $46,968,190 ($9,468,190 on course; $37,500,000 off course)
3. Tiger Woods: $48,551,098 ($551,098 on course; $48,000,000 off course)
2. Phil Mickelson: $52,301,730 ($2,301,730 on course; $50,000,000 off course)
And the highest paid golfer in 2015 was…
1. Jordan Spieth: $53,030,465 ($23,030,465 on course; $30,000,000 off course)