Woods, Palmer, Nicklaus in top four of new Forbes athlete list

Five golfers in top 20 of Forbes' highest-paid athletes list. 

Andy Roberts's picture
Wed, 14 Dec 2016

Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and the late Arnold Palmer occupy the top four spots in Forbes' top 20 highest-paid athletes of all time.

The list of 20 athletes - comprised of five golfers (the most of any sport) - takes into account salaries, bonuses, earnings, endorsements and licensing as of May 2016.

Basketball legend Michael Jordan holds top spot with $1.7 billion, narrowly ahead of Woods ($1.65 billion), with Palmer third ($1.35 billion) and Nicklaus ($1.15 billion) fourth. 

Phil Mickelson lies eighth ($760 million), four places ahead of Greg Norman ($680 million), who admits he's going to "shatter" the golf world in 2017 with his new ideas.

The legendary Palmer died in September aged 87, and only $3.6 million of his $1.35 billion total came from prize money on the golf course.

According to Forbes, Palmer earned more than $40 million annually leading up his death. His AriZona Beverage Co. generated $200 million in revenue last year.