Sport Golf

Friday 30 September 2016

Mickelson eclipses Tiger on financial 'leaderboard'

James Corrigan

Published 11/06/2015 | 02:30

Tiger Woods earned just $600,000 on the course in 2014
Tiger Woods earned just $600,000 on the course in 2014

Never mind the tag of best golfer in the world, Tiger Woods cannot even claim to be the highest-paid golfer in the world at the moment.

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For a man who famously loves his money so much this will hurt. Even more so as it happens to be his long-time nemesis, Phil Mickelson, who has replaced him at the head of the income charts.

Forbes, the respected US business magazine, has Woods down in ninth place on their latest list of top-earning athletes on $50.6 million, having put him No 1 as recently as two years ago with $80.4m.

This is the first time since Woods became a professional - signing his outrageous contract - in 1996 that he has not been out in front in the golfing compensation charts.

Mickelson cracked the top 10 in some style, "beating" Woods by $200,000, thanks to amassing $2.8m on the course in 2014 compared to Woods's paltry $0.6m. Rory McIlroy, the world No 1, is the only other golfer in the top 100, in 12th on $48.3m.

Dominate

With just seven days to go until the US Open begins in Chambers Bay in Washington State in the north west of the country, Woods continues to dominate the discussion after the 14-time major-winner shot the highest round of his 19-year career - 85 - and the highest four-round total - 302 - at last week's Memorial at Muirfield Village.

Meanwhile, Mickelson is under-taking his usual preparations for a major by playing at the St Jude Classic in Memphis. The 44-year-old will be aiming to go one better at Chambers Bay than his remarkable six US Open runner-up finishes and so become the sixth player in history to complete the career grand slam.

He can quiz his playing partners in the first two rounds in Memphis about what it takes to win the tournament after the organisers mischievously paired him with Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell (the 2010 champion) and the South African Retief Goosen (who won in 2001 and '04).

Padraig Harington is also in the field and needs to win if he is to qualify for Chambers Bay.

On the European Tour, defending champion Mikael Lundberg hopes a return to Austria will rekindle the form which saw him end a six-year drought 12 months ago.

The Swede's victory in the Lyoness Open in Atzenbrugg was his first since the Russian Open in 2008.

That was a tournament where Lundberg excelled, winning twice and finishing in the top 14 seven times in 11 years, and he believes the Austrian venue can offer similar success.

"I am definitely one of those guys who can click straight away in terms of form and confidence," the 41-year-old told his pre-tournament press conference.

"With me it just takes one little thought and I can latch on to it pretty quickly and all of a sudden I am confident and know I can score well.

"Even coming back here to the Diamond Country Club and playing a practice round gives me good vibes about the week."

The locals will no doubt remember Lundberg as he beat home favourite Bernd Wiesberger in a play-off last year.

"It was really funny actually because when I holed the putt the crowd cheered," Lundberg added.

"It was only after a few seconds they then seemed to realise that putt was going to probably stop Bernd winning the tournament so there was a kind of funny silence when they realised that."

Kevin Phelan, Gareth Maybin, Damien McGrane, Simon Thornton, Michael Hoey and Peter Lawrie all fly the flag for Ireland.

Lyoness Open

Live, Sky Sports 4 10.0am & 2.0pm

KPMG Women's PGA

Live, Sky Sports 4, 6.0pm

FedEx St Jude Classic,

Live, Sky Sports 4, 9.0pm

Irish Independent

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