Golden Swing

Golden Swing – Golf’s top players ranked by earnings per stroke

The 2021 Masters offers another chance to watch the world’s top golfers pit their wits and their skills against the iconic Augusta National course.

On offer is a healthy prize pot to be shared between the players. Last year, there was $11.5 million up for grabs, and that’s the benchmark for 2021’s tournament.

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So, when it comes to winning big, which of these elite players has the most valuable swing – or the ‘Golden Swing’?

  • We’ve taken a closer look at how much golf’s top players have earned on the PGA Tour in their career.
  • To show just how competitive it is, we then calculated how much they’ve earned per swing, as of January 2021.

HOW WE DID IT

We took the top 15 ranked players on the PGA Tour and broke down their career earnings per year. To add an extra bit of spice, we also added stats from the GOAT – Tiger Woods – into the mix.

This figure was then divided by their performances on the fairways and greens, to find the actual value of each stroke they played.

We’ve even calculated which years were most profitable for each of the players too.

trophy PRIZE
MONEY
divide
Golf Flag AVERAGE STROKES
equals
Dollar AVERAGE TAKE-HOME PER SWING

Which golfer has made the most per swing?

$413.00
Viktor Hovland
$542.00
Matthew Wolff
$565.00
Daniel Berger
$646.00
Tyrrell Hatton
$647.00
Webb Simpson
$673.00
Patrick Reed
$706.00
Patrick Cantlay
$883.00
Bryson DeChambeau
$1,111.00
Brooks Koepka
$1,160.00
Collin Morikawa
$1,273.00
Jon Rahm
$1,285.00
Xander Schauffele
$1,420.00
Dustin Johnson
$1,561.00
Justin Thomas
$1,675.00
Tiger Woods
$1,920.00
Rory McIlroy
$348.00
Viktor Hovland
$501.00
Matthew Wolff
$520.00
Daniel Berger
$546.00
Tyrrell Hatton
$564.00
Webb Simpson
$583.00
Patrick Reed
$658.00
Patrick Cantlay
$750.00
Bryson DeChambeau
$774.00
Xander Schauffele
$897.00
Collin Morikawa
$959.00
Brooks Koepka
$1,026.00
Dustin Johnson
$1,034.00
Justin Thomas
$1,042.00
Jon Rahm
$1,198.00
Rory McIlroy
$1,354.00
Tiger Woods
include fedex bonus exclude fedex bonus Check On Check Off

According to our research, Rory McIlroy is the top earner per swish of the club. In fact, the four-time Major winner is estimated to have racked up a massive $1,920 of winnings with every stroke.

  • Having competed at 182 official events and earned over $53 million in prize money, our final calculation also accounts for the roughly $32 million which McIlroy has earned in FedEx Cup tournaments.
  • Removing that prize money from the equation, and going purely on a per-shot basis, golfing icon Tiger Woods moves to the summit with a tidy $1,354 per shot. The five-time Masters winner may not currently rank among the sport’s elite, but based on a long and honour-filled career, he’s more than holding his own against the current crop of talent.

What’s the most lucrative year of golf on record?

When combining each of the players’ income per swing and splitting them by year, 2020 was the most financially rewarding for players to date.

  • YEAR

    AVERAGE EARNINGS
    PER SWING

  • 2010

    $569.00

  • 2011

    $759.00

  • 2012

    $1062.00

  • 2013

    $710.00

  • 2014

    $607.00

  • 2015

    $601.30

  • YEAR

    AVERAGE EARNINGS
    PER SWING

  • 2016

    $1027.00

  • 2017

    $1061.00

  • 2018

    $1139.00

  • 2019

    $1322.00

  • 2020

    $1578.00

  • 2021

    ???

In 2020, the average amount of money per-hit was $1,578 – by far the most of all the years across the previous decade.

Every player’s highest income per swing - by year

Now, let’s look at which year was the most successful for each of golf’s heavy hitters.

VIKTOR HOVLAND

Viktor Hovland

Matthew Wolff

Patrick Reed

Daniel Berger

Collin Morikawa

Patrick Cantlay

Bryson DeChambeau

Tyrrell Hatton

Webb Simpson

Xander Schauffele

Jon Rahm

BrooksKoepka

Justin Thomas

Rory McIlroy

Tiger Woods

Dustin Johnson

$480.58

Most successful year: 2020. Averaged $480.58 per swing

Hovland is the first Norwegian winner of a PGA Tour event – his first of two wins in 2020 coming at the Puerto Rico Open.

  • show prime tiger woods
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
$750.22

Most successful year: 2019. Averaged $750.22 per swing.

Wolff netted $1.15 million with his victory at the 3M Open in July 2019, squeezing out Collin Morikawa and Bryson DeChambeau on the final green.

  • show prime tiger woods
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
$1,083.92

Most successful year: 2016. Averaged $1,083.92 per swing.

Reed’s 2016 takings were boosted by winning the first of two titles at The Barclays/The Northern Trust, and pocketing $1.7 million for his troubles.

  • show prime tiger woods
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
$1,140.57

Most successful year: 2020. Averaged $1,140.57 per swing

Berger triumphed in the 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge, and recently won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in 2021.

  • show prime tiger woods
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
$1,284.74

Most successful year: 2020. Averaged $1,284.74 per swing

Morikawa earned $1,067.40 per swing in his first two years as a pro. That’s more than double what Rory Mcilory ($522) did early in his career.

  • show prime tiger woods
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
$1,325.20

Most successful year: 2019. Averaged $1,325.20 per swing

A successful 2019 for Cantlay saw him finish T3 at the US PGA Championship and finishing inside the top-10 at the Masters.

  • show prime tiger woods
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
$1,559.48

Most successful year: 2018. Averaged $1,559.48 per swing

“The Scientist” soared to number five in the world rankings thanks to a $1.3 million payday at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in November 2018.

  • show prime tiger woods
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
$1,632.15

Most successful year: 2020. Averaged $1,632.15 per swing

Hatton won the 2020 Arnold Palmer Invitational by a single stroke, pocketing the lion’s share of a $9.3 million purse.

  • show prime tiger woods
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
$1,633.30

Most successful year: 2020. Averaged $1,633.30 per swing.

Two top-10 finishes at majors, and two wins on the PGA Tour, made 2020 Simpson’s most successful year to date.

  • show prime tiger woods
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
$2,058.49

Most successful year: 2019. Averaged $2,058.49 per swing.

Schauffele’s successful 2019 included tying for second at The Masters and finishing as runner-up in the FedEx Cup standings.

  • show prime tiger woods
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
$2,245.01

Most successful year: 2020. Averaged $2,245.01 per swing.

Rahm topped the pro rankings in 2020 – becoming only the second Spanish player after the legendary Seve Ballesteros to reach the summit.

  • show prime tiger woods
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
$2,574.50

Most successful year: 2019. Averaged $2,574.50 per swing.

Koepka successfully defended his US PGA Championship title in 2019 – the first golfer to do so since Tiger Woods in 2007 – and won just shy of $2 million in the process.

  • show prime tiger woods
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
$3,633.99

Most successful year: 2017. Averaged $3,633.99 per swing.

Thomas earned entry to a very prestigious group in 2017, winning five tournaments in one season before his 25th birthday – adding a FedEx Cup that same year.

  • show prime tiger woods
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
$4,853.10

Most successful year: 2019. Averaged $4,853.10 per swing.

McIlroy scooped golf’s largest cash prize - $15 million – for his second FedEx Cup victory at the Tour Championship.

  • show prime tiger woods
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
$5,033.06

Most successful year: 2007. Averaged $5,033.06 per swing.

Woods won seven times on the PGA Tour in 2007 and also added the US PGA Championship, landing him a whopping $10.9 million.

  • show prime tiger woods
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
$6,168.52

Most successful year: 2020. Averaged $6,168.52 per swing.

As the defending champion at this year’s Masters, Johnson had the most valuable swing of 2020, worth over six thousand dollars a time.

  • show prime tiger woods
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010

Tiger Woods is the quite possibly the most successful golfer in history. The 10-year period between 2000 and 2010 were particularly profitable for the five-time Masters winner. You can see his most successful decade plotted on the above graph.

In the money at the Masters

  • position

    PLAYER NAME

    $ PER STROKE

  • 1

    Patrick Reed

    $1716.00

  • 2

    Dustin Johnson

    $1659.00

  • 3

    Tiger Woods

    $1608.00

  • 4

    Xander Schauffele

    $1248.00

  • 5

    Brooks Koepka

    $1139.00

  • 6

    Jon Rahm

    $1134.00

  • 7

    Patrick Cantlay

    $874.00

  • 8

    Rory McIlroy

    $804.00

  • 9

    Justin Thomas

    $770.00

  • 10

    Webb Simpson

    $572.00

  • 11

    Daniel Berger

    $428.00

  • 12

    Bryson DeChambeau

    $217.00

  • 13

    Collin Morikawa

    $144.00

  • 14

    Tyrrell Hatton

    $99.00

  • 15

    Matthew Wolff

    $68.00

  • 16

    Viktor Hovland

    N/A

Among our selection of golf’s elite players, only three have claimed victory at previous editions of The Masters.

  • Tiger Woods (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2019) is a five-time winner at the event, while Dustin Johnson (2020) and Patrick Reed (2018) have both topped the leaderboard once.
  • Woods and McIlroy share the honours as top earners per swing throughout their distinguished careers. But going on performances in this tournament alone, the table of earnings per swing looks drastically different.
  • Patrick Reed tops The Masters table when it comes to earnings per swing, raking in $1,715.79 each time he takes a shot. His win in 2018, plus a top-10 finish in 2020 saw Reed eclipse Dustin Johnson ($1,658.74 per swing).

Masters results since 2015 have proven to be the most lucrative years in the tournament for each of our players.

The Masters through the years

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

Rory McIlroy pocketed $1739.13 for each swing of a club in the 2015 Masters, finishing in fourth place on 12 under and scooping a share of the $9 million purse.

Daniel Berger took home $795.85 per swing when he tied for 10th place, with a score of one over par.

Whilst the 2017 Masters had a hefty prize pot of $11 million, 2017 didn’t see any of our golfers achieve their tournament high in terms of earnings per stroke.

  • Patrick Reed earned $7,252.75 per swing of his club during the 2018 Masters, which he won on 15 under.
  • Jon Rahm made $1,906.14 with every stroke played, as he finished fourth for a cash prize of $386,375.
  • Tyrrell Hatton’s best Masters’ finish (T44) saw him pocket $120.55 for each shot he made.

Tiger Woods won his fifth Masters’ title in 2019. Claiming the top prize of $2.07 million meant he earned $7,527.27 with each hit.

  • Brooks Koepka tied for second with Xander Schauffele, just one shot shy of Woods. They each picked up $3,111.11 per swing.
  • Webb Simpson was in a four-way tie for fifth, winning $403,938 – that’s $1,458.26 per shot.
  • Patrick Cantlay tied for ninth place in the final standings, earning $1,116.91 per shot.
  • Bryson DeChambeau earned $275.35 per hit. The 2019 Masters was his best finish at the event as a pro (T29).
  • Dustin Johnson secured victory – and the $2.07 million winners’ cheque – at the 2020 Masters, earning $7,723.88 each time he hit the ball.
  • Justin Thomas finished fourth, with a 12 under par score and earnings at a rate of $2,000 per hit.
  • Collin Morikawa finished T44 on his debut Masters appearance, finishing even par to get a share of $41,400 and a rate of $143.75 per hit.
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The contrasting fortunes of our highly-ranked players is thrown into sharp focus when we judge their performance at the Masters – the highest-profile event on the golfing calendar.

Who will add their name to the prestigious winners’ list this year?

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