$how me the money - McIlroy third richest golfer last year

Rory McIlroy in his first outing with Nike Golf in Abu Dhabi. Picture Stuart Adams www.golftourimages.comRory McIlroy was the third highest earning golfer in the world behind Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson last year.

That’s before his megabucks deal with Nike is taken into account, meaning he could close the gap on Phil Mickelson next year.

‘Only’ the 21st richest sportsman according to the latest list of “The World’s Highest Paid Athletes” elaborated by US magazine Forbes, McIlroy’s income calculated at $29.6m with $13.6m in tournament earnings last year and $16m in sponsorshhip money.

Woods tops the list from Roger Federer ($71.5m) with an income estimated at $78.1 million -  $13.1m in tournament earnings and $65m in endorsements.

Mickelson is seventh with $48.7m ($4.7m and $44m) with Ernie Els the next highest paid golfer at 78th in the list with $19.5m ($3.5m and $16m).

According to a Forbes story by Kurt Badenhausen:

Nike remains Woods’ biggest meal ticket, paying him more than $20 million annually by our count, and the company is on the verge of signing Woods to a contract extension, which will keep Woods as the top golf endorser at the $25 billion-in-sales sports behemoth. Woods first partnered with Nike when he turned pro in 1996 with a five-year, $40 million deal. Nike rolled out a new ad campaign featuring Woods in March with the slogan: “Winning takes care of everything.” Critics howled that the ads pardoned Woods for his transgressions revealed in 2009. Revenues at Nike Golf rose 10% last year to $726 million after three straight years of declines.

McIlroy is sure to make a big leap in next year’s list with money from new contracts with Nike, Omega and Bose likely to take him inside the top 10 with more than $40m a year.