Ernie Els takes the lead as South Africa’s highest-earning sportsman, with professional golfers stealing the top spots alongside rugby and cricket stars playing for foreign clubs.
According to statistics obtained from various sources, including The Sunday Times newspaper, it appears as though golfers are the most highly paid sportsmen in South Africa, with four professionals stealing the top spots in the list. However, the South African’s’ salaries seem modest in comparison to Tiger Woods, who Forbes magazine ranked as number one in their list of the ‘World’s 100 Highest Paid Athletes’, with earnings of $78.1 million.
These rankings certainly highlight the earning power of golf for South African sporting stars, as well as drawing attention to the financial gains of cricket’s Indian Premier League and Japanese rugby clubs.
1. Ernie Els – Professional Golfer
Between $18.2 million and $19.5 million
Ernie Els was named South Africa’s highest-paid sportsman in 2012 with an income of $18.2 million last year, according to the Sunday Times newspaper. His annual salary is a result of $3.5 million in tournament winnings and $14.7 million from endorsements and commercial work. This figure was disputed by Forbes magazine list of the ‘World’s 100 Highest Paid Athletes’, where Els placed 78th with an income of $19.5 million, the only South African to make the cut.
The former world No. 1 who has won four world championships, including the U.S. Open twice and The Open Championship twice also runs a golf course design business.
2. Louis Oosthuizen- Professional Golfer
The winner of the 2010 British Open and runner-up in the 2012 Masters Tournament boasts earnings of $9.8 million.
3. Retief Goosen – Professional Golfer
Having won the US Open twice, The Goose now has an annual income of $6 million.
4. Charl Schwartzel – Professional Golfer
The winner of the Masters Tournament in 2011 earns $5.9 million a year.
5. Steven Pienaar – English Premier League Footballer
Steven Pienaar earns an estimated $5 million a year playing for Everton and is also the youngest athlete on the list.
6. Oscar Pistorius – Sprinter
Oscar Pistorius was earning approximately $1.5 million during the 2012 Paralympics, with the majority of his salary resulting from his sponsorship deals.
7. Jacques Kallis – Cricketer
Jacques Kallis makes $305,000 a year playing for South Africa and $1 million a year from the IPL’s Kolkata Knight Riders. He was named International Cricket Council Player of the Year 2005, among various other achievements.
8. Jaque Fourie – Rugby player
The Springbok centre signed a two-year contract worth $2.6 million to play for the Kobe Kobelco Steelers in Japan.
9. JP Pietersen – Rugby player
The Springboks winger has a $1.1 million per season contract with Japan’s Panasonic Wild Knights. The deal is at least five times more than what he earns a year in South Africa from his provincial and national contracts combined.
10. Chris Morris – Cricketer
The bowler earns $40,000 a season from his Johannesburg-based Lions team, but $625,000 from the IPL’s Chennai Super Kings.
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