Rory McIlroy has become just the third player to top the annual Golf Digest list of highest paid golfers.
The Northern Irishman last year pocketed a cool $US49.5million dollars, comprising $17.5m from winnings and a mere $32m from off-course activities.
McIlroy, who benefited greatly from his FedEx Cup winnings, supplanted Jordan Spieth (No.5) from the top of the list – and they are now the only two people to have been No.1 other than Tiger Woods in its 14-year history.
Remarkably, Woods was knocked to No.4 by the late Arnold Palmer (No.2) and Phil Mickelson (No.3), whose off-course earnings surpassed even McIlroy.
Three Australians appear on the list with Jason Day (No.8), Adam Scott (No.10) and Greg Norman (No.19) all at $10m or better.
Remarkably, all members of the original “big three” maintain strong positions on the list, with the late Palmer ($40m) in second, edging out Jack Nicklaus ($20m for sixth) and Gary Player ($15m for 10th).
There are only three other irregular players – Norman, Nick Faldo ($8,293,500) and Tom Watson ($8,147,888) – on the 50-strong list, although Fred Couples, Bernhard Langer, Miguel Angel Jimenez and Colin Montgomerie play most of their golf on seniors’ tours.
At position No.44, Lydia Ko is the only female entrant on the list with earnings of $5,941,642 for the year.