Harrington takes home nearly $18m in 2008

Laughing all the way to the bank. Harrington with the Open and US PGA trophies.Padraig Harrington's double major winning season made him the world's ninth richest golfer in 2008.

The Dubliner, 37, pocketed a massive $17.6m on and off the golf course according to the annual rich list published by American magazine Golf Digest.

Harrington was ranked 10th in the 2007 cash charts with $14.1m thanks to bonuses earned for his Major championship breakthrough in the Open at Carnoustie.

But his wins in the Open and the US PGA saw his bank balance soar to an estimated $17,631,958 this term with $12m earned off the course in the shape of endorsements, bonuses and appearance fees.

Tiger Woods topped the poll yet again and is now a mere $115 million short of becoming the first sportsman to earn ONE BILLION dollars - a feat he will achieve in 2009.

Yet Woods still had to take a pay cut this year, earning 'just' $117m compared to $122m in 2007 as he missed half the season following knee surgery.

With the global financial crisis hitting car makers, Woods parted company with sponsors Buick by mutual consent after a nine-year relationship that earned him an estimated $8m a year.

But he could easily afford it after earning $7.7m on the course and another $109 million off it, thanks to endorsement deals with the likes of Nike, Accenture, Gatorade, Tag Heuer, Gillette and Dubai.

Harrington is the second highest earning European on the list behind arch rival Sergio Garcia, who moved up from eighth to seventh with an income of $24m.

Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus, slipped to eighth with $22m and now looks likely to be overtaken by Harrington in the money stakes in 2009 after the Irish world No 4 signed deals with Wilson Golf and FTI Consulting estimated to be worth a cool $22m over the next three years.

The biggest movers on the list were Colombian star Camilio Villegas, ranked 13th with $11.2m, and US Ryder Cup ace Anthony Kim, who debuted at 17th with $8.8m

Phil Mickelson was second on the list with $44.8m followed by FedEx Cup winner Vijay Singh ($43m), Arnold Palmer ($30m), Greg Norman ($26m) and Ernie Els ($26m).

Jim Furyk didn't win a tournament but still finished the year ranked 10th with $15.7m while Darren Clarke returned to the top 50 at 41st with $5.2m.