LIV Golf Stars Make Forbes List Of World's 10 Highest-Paid Athletes

 Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson during The Masters
Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson during The Masters

Dustin Johnson and Phil Mickelson have been named on the Forbes list of the world's top 10 highest-paid athletes for 2023.

The pair accepted lucrative offers in 2022 to join LIV Golf, the breakaway circuit spearheaded by Greg Norman and funded by Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund. Mickelson's signing-on fee was reported to be around $200 million, while Johnson is believed to have received somewhere in the region of $125m to defect to the upstart tour that has caused a rift in the men's game.

Scroll to continue with content

LIV Golf also offers the biggest tournament purses in the game, as well as guaranteed money no matter where you finish in any of the 48-man events, allowing the duo to mix it with some of the biggest names in world sport, including Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Roger Federer.

Johnson sits sixth on the list with estimated earnings of $107m this year, helped by winning just shy of $36m in prize money through LIV events in 2022, which included $18m for clinching the season-long individual championship.

Mickelson is one place behind Johnson on $106m, despite on-course earnings of just over $1.8m on the Saudi-funded circuit last year. The left-hander, who left Augusta National $1.6m richer thanks to a surprise T2 finish at the 2023 Masters, cracked the Forbes top-10 list for 11 straight years from 2006 to 2016 but ranked 31st in 2022 with $45.3m.

Behind Mickelson are basketball star Stephen Curry in eighth, Federer in ninth and Kevin Durant in 10th.


Forbes 10 Highest-Paid Athletes 2023

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo: $136 million

  2. Lionel Messi: $130 million

  3. Kylian Mbappe: $120 million

  4. LeBron James: $119 million

  5. Canelo Alvarez: $110 million

  6. Dustin Johnson: $107 million

  7. Phil Mickelson: $106 million

  8. Stephen Curry: $100 million

  9. Roger Federer: $95 million

  10. Kevin Durant: $89 million