11/26/2012 08:16 am ET Updated Nov 26, 2012

Rory McIlroy Earnings: Was McIlroy's 2012 Season The Richest Ever?

By Ryan Lavner, Golf Channel

Rory McIlroy may have just completed one of the best seasons of the past decade, but it wasn't as lucrative as some believe.

The Northern Irishman’s victory Sunday at the DP World Tour Championship pushed his official tournament earnings on the 2012 European Tour to €4,738,026.

When the Race to Dubai was initiated in 2009, however, the European Tour began factoring in money from that bonus pool into players’ earnings, so the tour recognizes McIlroy as having earned a single-season record €5,519,117 -- a little more than $7 million (the PGA Tour does not lump FedExCup bonus money in its money tallies). Fair enough.

But when he stormed back to win in Dubai on Sunday, it was reported that McIlroy had earned a combined $11.9 million to become the all-time leading single-season money earner after combining both PGA and European tour earnings.

Not quite true.

For a fair comparison, FedExCup payouts would have to be included. As figures shown below from the Golf Channel Research Unit indicate, doing that would leave McIlroy more than $6 million shy of Tiger Woods' mark in 2007. Even if you take away the bonus money from both tours and focus only on tournament earnings, McIlroy's gross take-home pay on the two circuits still ranks only fifth all-time.

In fact, the world No. 1 also did not win the most money in a season on the world money list or even the most tournament prize money in a season on the European Tour (not counting bonus-pool money).

Most money won in a season, combining PGA and European tours (includes season-ending bonus money)

Tiger Woods, 2007: $21,002,706

Tiger Woods, 2009: $20,948,054

Vijay Singh, 2008: $16,846,707

Brandt Snedeker, 2012: $15,203,943

Rory McIlroy, 2012: $14,947,402

Jim Furyk, 2010: $14,809,622

Most money won in a year, combining PGA and European tours (tournament earnings only)

Tiger Woods, 2005: $11,183,574

Vijay Singh, 2004: $11,104,892

Tiger Woods, 2007: $11,002,706

Tiger Woods, 2006: $10,951,972

Rory McIlroy, 2012: $10,947,402

Tiger Woods, 2009: $10,698,163

Highest earnings on world money list last 10 years (combined money won in tournaments on the official world tours)

Tiger Woods, 2005: $11,515,939

Tiger Woods, 2006: $11,141,827

Vijay Singh, 2004: $11,104,892

Tiger Woods, 2007: $11,002,706

Tiger Woods, 2009: $10,948,054

Rory McIlroy, 2012: $10,947,402

Most money won in a season in European Tour events (does not include Race to Dubai bonus pool money)

Tiger Woods, 2000: €5,426,715

Tiger Woods, 2006: €5,264,383

Tiger Woods, 2005: €5,022,798

Ernie Els, 2004: €4,924,715

Rory McIlroy, 2012: €4,738,026

"Was McIlroy's 2012 season the richest ever?" by Ryan Lavner appears courtesy of Golf Channel.

Further reading at
McIlroy extends lead in world ranking; Rose rises
McIlroy's 'extra' effort
Quotes of the Week: Couples retreat



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