Being a professional golfer is not as easy as it sounds. You must hone your game for years, hoping to be good enough to qualify for major tournaments, then place high enough to win enough money to make a living. The greatest golfers of all-time make it look easy, but only one of them has won over $100 million. If you want to find out who that is, as well as how much top golfers Jason Day and Bubba Watson have won, put on your favorite golf shirt and read on!
Steve Stricker - $20 Million
Steve Stricker made his professional golf debut in 1990 on the Canadian Professional Golf Tour. In 1994 he joined the PGA Tour. His career peaked in 2009 when he was ranked as the second-best golfer in the world.
Despite the high ranking, Stricker has never won a major championship. In 1998 he finished in second place for the PGA Championship, though, showing just how much potential he had. By 2019, Stricker had collected 27 professional wins, earning over $44 million in winnings.
Davis Love III - $50 Million
At 55-years-old, Davis Love III has made an amazing career for himself on the links. He debuted in 1985, going straight to the PGA Tour. Since then, he has 21 PGA Tour wins and won the PGA Championship in 1997.
Love III earned his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2017, one year after captaining the American team at the Ryder Cup for the second time. At his peak, he was the number two ranked professional golfer in the world.
Bubba Watson - $40 Million
In 2015, Bubba Watson reached a career high when he was ranked as the best golfer in the world. The year prior, he won the Masters Tournament. For Watson, success as a professional golfer came early. He made his PGA Tour debut in 2002 and began winning right away.
Watson is known for his driving range. In 2007, he averaged 315 yards per drive. In one tournament he sent a ball sailing over 350 yards and 194 miles per hour!
Jason Day - $50 Million
Jason Day was ranked as the world's best golfer in 2015, nine years after making his PGA Tour debut. To date, he has won over $45 million from PGA tournaments and racked up 12 tour wins.
When he won the PGA Championship in 2015, he did it in historic fashion, finishing the tournament 20 strokes under par. Unfortunately, the years that followed saw injuries get in the way of his career. In 2019, he battled chronic back pain, a common problem among professional golfers.
Lee Westwood - $40 Million
Born in England, Lee Westwood has made his living on both the PGA Tour and the European Tour. Between the two, he has an impressive 43 professional wins and earned nearly $50 million in tournament winnings.
In 2010, Westwood dethroned Tiger Woods as the top-ranked golfer in the world. Throughout his illustrious career, he has represented England in ten Ryder Cups and has won tournaments on five continents. One of the only things Westwood is yet to accomplish is winning a major championship.
Luke Donald - $40 Million
A professional since 2001, Luke Donald has played on the European Tour as well as the PGA Tour. He has 17 tournament wins but has never won a major championship. In 2012 he was the world's top-ranked golfer.
The only other golfer to earn a number one world ranking without a major championship is Lee Westwood. Overall, Donald has secured top placement in eight major championships, finishing in third place at the 2005 Masters Tournament and the 2006 PGA Championship.
Matt Kuchar - $25 Million
In 2012, Matt Kuchar scored the biggest win of his career, taking the title at the Players Championship. The big victory skyrocketed him up the world golf rankings to number five and he spent the next 40 weeks in the top ten.
In 2016, Kuchar participated in the Olympics, earning a bronze medal. Surprisingly, it was the first bronze medal at the Olympics awarded in golf since 1904! That year Burt McKinnie and Francis Newton were co-winners of the medal.
Henrik Stenson - $25 Million
Coming up next is Henrik Stenson, the 2016 Olympics silver medal winner. Making his professional debut 18 years earlier, the now 43-year-old is one of the most distinguished golfers in the world.
Twice, Stenson has been named the European Tour Golfer of the Year and won the 2016 Open Championship with a scored of 264, a tournament record. The feat made him the first male golfer of Swedish descent to win a major championship.
Adam Scott - $50 Million
Adam Scott has 29 tournament wins since turning pro in 2000. He has won several major championships, including the 2004 Players Championship. Unfortunately, not everything Scott has done on the links has been met with success.
The 2012 Open Championship is one Adam Scott will never forget. He was leading the major by four strokes with four holes left when he fell apart. He bogeyed on every last hole, raising his score, which allowed Ernie Els to catch him and take over the top spot.
Dustin Johnson - $100 Million
Still relatively new to the world of professional golf, Dustin Johnson has undeniably made his mark in a short time. In 2016 he won the U.S. Open and was named the PGA Player of the Year. He also topped the tour in tournament winnings.
In 2019, Johnson won the WGC-Mexico Championship, making him the third golfer in history to win a Tour title every year for the first 12 years of his career. The other two golfers to hold this distinction were Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
Sergio Garcia - $70 Million
Although he has never reached the top ranking in the world, Sergio Garcia has earned every penny of his $65.4 million thanks to his 31 tournament wins. His two biggest victories came at the 2008 Players Championship and the 2017 Masters Tournament.
Throughout his career, Garcia has built a reputation as one of the most accurate golfers. He has an exceptional iron play and is one of the toughest competitors on the links. Off the links, Garcia if the Chairman of CF Borriol, a Spanish soccer club.
Rory McIlroy - $170 Million
Rory McIlroy is one of four players to win three major championships before turning 25. The other three are Jordan Spieth, Jack Nicklaus, and Tiger Woods. He earned his first $10 million by the time he was 22-years-old, becoming the youngest golfer to ever do that.
At one point in his young career, McIlroy was so untouchable that he spent 95 weeks as the top-ranked golfer in the world. He has 25 professional wins spread across the PGA Tour and European Tour, with his last major championship coming in 2014 when he won the PGA Championship and the Open Championship.
Ernie Els - $85 Million
Ernie Els is a scary man on the links. Nicknamed "The Big Easy" for his 6'3" frame, Els has 71 professional wins since debuting in 1989. He's won the U.S. Open twice and the Open Championship twice.
In 2011, Els was inducted in the World Golf Hall of Fame. Other members of the class were Masashi Ozaki, Doug Ford, Jock Hutchinson, Frank Chirkinian, and former President George H.W. Bush. The next year he won the Open Championship for the second time.
Justin Rose - $40 Million
Currently ranked at the world's second best golfer, Justin Rose has spent the better part of his 20-year career winning tournaments and counting cash. With nearly $70 million earned by 2019, we expect the 38-year-old has a shot to break the century mark by the time he retires.
The only golfer in the world ranked above Johnson in 2019 was Brooks Koepka, who took the PGA Tour by storm with a stunning win at the PGA Championship.
Jim Furyk - $60 Million
Jim Furyk first joined the PGA Tour in 1994 and worked his way slowly up the ranks. Today, he's won 17 tournaments on the tour and one major championship; the 2003 U.S. Open.
Between 1999 and 2016, Furyk spent a total of 440 weeks as one of the top-ten ranked golfers in the world. While he has never reached the number one spot, he was listed as the second best in the world in 2006.
Vijay Singh - $75 Million
Vijay Singh has been around the game of golf for a long time. Since turning pro in 1982 he has racked up an impressive 64 wins, 34 of which came on the PGA Tour.
Growing up in Fiji, Singh didn't have many opportunities to learn golf, so he had to teach himself, "When we were kids we couldn't afford golf balls so we had to make do with coconuts. My father used to say, 'Little Vijay, golf balls don't fall off trees you know,' so I found some that did!"
Phil Mickelson - $300 Million
When people talk about who the greatest golfers to ever play the game are, Phil Mickelson's name undoubtedly comes up. He has spent the last 25 years ranked as a top 50 golfer in the world and has spent 700 weeks total ranked in the top ten.
In his long career, Mickelson has won five major championships. He took home the PGA Championship title in 2005, he won the Masters Tournament in 2004, 2006, and 2010, and won the Open Championship in 2013.
Tiger Woods - $800 Million
Tiger Woods joined the PGA Tour in 1996 and never looked back. He's the only player on this list who has over $100 million in tournament winnings. He's also the only player on this list with over 100 professional wins.
To top it all off, Tiger Woods has won 15 major championships, taking home the title at the U.S. Open, the Open Championship, the Masters Tournament, and the PGA Championship multiple times. Most recently he shocked everyone by winning the 2019 Masters Tournament.
Ian Poulter - $60 Million
Englishman Ian Poulter started his professional career with a bang in 1996. He claimed the Italian Open title and was named Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year. Poulter has two World Golf Championship wins and has ranked as high as number 5 in the world.
His consistently has led to him being named one of the top professional golfers in the world, and with his flashy attire, you can't miss him on the course. He's even started his own clothing line, Ian Poulter Design.
Padraig Harrington - $40 Million
Hailing from Ireland, Padraig Harrington has made a good living for himself. He's earned $24.8 million on the PGA Tour and €26.1 million on the European Tour. Harrington has three major championship titles: the 2007 and 2008 Open Championship and the 2008 PGA Championship.
He stayed in the top 10 in the world for over 300 weeks, which explains his millions in the bank. In July 2008, Harrington reached number three in the world. He's also the captain of the European team for the 2020 Ryder Cup.
Paul Casey - $21 Million
Paul Casey has ranked as high as the third in the world, in 2009. Casey has earned $28.8 million on the PGA Tour, and €21.0 million on the European Tour. He doesn't have any major championships to his name but has 16 overall wins.
He joined the European Tour in May 2001 after a strong amateur career where he became the third player in 77 years to achieve four victories on the 1999 Walker Cup Team without a single defeat.
David Toms - $35 Million
American golfer David Toms took the PGA Championship in 2001 and has 15 overall wins to his credit. With $41.9 million in winnings, he's earned the majority of it on the PGA Tour. For 175 weeks he remained in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking. That ended in 2006.
Toms suffered several injuries in 2008 but made a successful comeback in June 2012 when he recorded his best-ever performance at the U.S. Open, finishing T-4.
Rickie Fowler - $40 Million
Everyone took notice of Rickie Fowler during his amateur career, as he held the number one position in the rankings for 37 weeks. His strong performance carried into his professional career, as he reached number four in the Official World Golf Ranking in 2016.
He has $39.1 million in winnings and has always had strong support from his sponsors. Although he's yet to win a major championship, Fowler has seven overall wins in his professional career.
Jordan Spieth - $110 Million
Formerly number one in the Official World Golf Ranking, Jordan Spieth has earned over $110 million throughout his golf career. A three-time winner of the 2015 FedEx Cup champion, he was also named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2016 with the magazine commenting that he “exemplifies everything that’s great about sports.”
Only 25 years old, he tied the 72-hole record Tiger Woods set in back in 1997, becoming the second-youngest golfer in history to win the Masters. There’s certainly more to come from this young athlete.
Charles Howell III - $15 Million
Charles Howell III first picked up a golf club when he was just seven years old and hasn’t looked back since. Carrying his love for gold into college, Howell was a member of Oklahoma State’s winning team in 2000 and was the winner at the NCAA Division I Golf Championship. There, he set the record with a 23-under-par game.
Turning professional in 2000, he slowly worked his way up in tournaments, eventually earning the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year award in 2001. His time as a professional golfer has earned him upwards of $38.2 million.
Stewart Cink - $18 Million
Stewart Cink turned pro in college in 1995 after playing for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Just two years after becoming a professional golfer, he joined the PGA Tour where he won the Canon Greater Hartford Open during his rookie season. He is regarded as a consistent player with 2004 being his best year until he won the Open Championship in 2009.
However, one of his most notable achievements was beating Tom Watson in a four-hole aggregate. He is currently on the PGA Tour, living comfortably off of the $37.2 million he has made playing the game.
Brandt Snedeker - $20 Million
Born in 1980, Snedeker was introduced to the game of golf by his grandmother who was the manager of a golf course in West Plains, Missouri. Playing into his college years, he won the U.S. Amateur Public Links in 2003, eventually turning pro in 2004.
In 2012, he won the FedEx Cup, which moved him into the top ten of the Official World Golf Ranking, a monumental moment in his career. The next year, he won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, establishing him as the fourth best player in the world. For his skill in the sport, he has acquired an estimated $36.3 million.