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LIV’s huge contracts shake up the Forbes list of richest athletes

Jon Rahm watches a tee shot during the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.

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No athlete has jumped higher on Forbes’ annual list of the World’s Highest-Paid Athletes than Jon Rahm. We’ll give you one guess as to why.

Rahm, a 29-year-old Spaniard, came in at No. 2 on the newly released list, with his net worth over the past 12 months estimated at $218 million. According to Forbes, $198 million of that came from his tuition/contracts, and $20 million came from endorsements.

To compile its ranking, Forbes tracked earnings from May 1, 2023, to May 1, 2024. For LIV players who received guaranteed contracts, Forbes calculated those figures through interviews with industry sources and estimated that LIV’s top players received half of their guarantees in advance , and the remaining signing bonus money to be paid during the contracts.

Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo tops the list, earning $260 million.

jon rahm speaks at a press conference at the PGA Championship wearing a green shirt and red hat

Jon Rahm’s comments on the PGA Tour raised eyebrows at the PGA Championship


James Colgan

Rahm, who was not on last year’s roster, shocked golf when he signed with LIV Golf last December. Although the details of the deal have not been disclosed, it was previously reported that the number was at least $300 million over several years. Rahm won four times on the PGA Tour from January 2023 to April 2023, including the Masters in his second major title. He officially won $16.5 million in prize money on the PGA Tour last season. Forbes lists his sponsors at the time as Callaway, Mercedes-Benz, Rolex and the Santander Group.

Rahm hasn’t won since moving to LIV Golf, but he hasn’t finished worse than 10 in his seven starts. He has finished third twice.

In his two majors since joining LIV, Rahm tied for 45th at the Masters and was cut at last week’s PGA Championship.

Rahm was one of five golfers on Forbes’ top 50 list, including Rory McIlroy (19th, $80.1 million total), Tiger Woods (23rd, $67.2 million), Scottie Scheffler (29th, $59.2 million) and Cameron Smith (43rd, $48 million).

Smith, like Rahm, left the PGA Tour for LIV. Smith won the 2022 Open Championship in St. Andrews, then signed with LIV at the end of the PGA Tour season. Smith’s signing bonus was previously reported to be in the nine figures.

On Forbes’ 2023 list released last year, Dustin Johnson (No. 6, $107 million) and Phil Mickelson (No. 7, $106 million) — who recently partnered with LIV — were the only golfers ranked in the top 10. . and it was the first time in six years that Woods was ranked as the world’s highest-paid golfer.

A potential merger between the PGA Tour and the Saudi PIF, which sponsors LIV Golf, has made little progress over the past year. Rahm missed the cut at Valhalla last week, but made headlines — and was heavily criticized by Golf Channel commentators — when he said he still considers himself a member of the PGA Tour.

“I’m still a member of the PGA Tour, whether I’m suspended or not,” Rahm said last Tuesday. “I still want to support the PGA Tour and I think that’s an important distinction to make. I don’t feel like I’m on the other side. I’m not just playing there.”

Josh Behow Editor

As managing editor of, Berhow manages the day-to-day and long-term programming of one of the most widely read news and service websites in the sport. He spends most of his days writing, planning, organizing and wondering if he will ever break 80. Before joining in 2015, he worked at newspapers in Minnesota and Iowa. A graduate of Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minn., he lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and two children. You can reach him at

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