If you follow sport, and not the politics or business of sport, you might think Greg Norman has had a pretty hard time of it recently. Arriving in Australia for a new golf course design announcement, which happened to be at the same time as the Australian Open, for which Norman chose not to tee-up, the Shark was attacked by little-known Queensland golfer Mark Hensby for not doing enough for Australian golf.
Predictably, Norman played the wounded soldier. His rather forlorn response was, “Why do I even bother coming back here?”
Well, it’s certainly not to play golf. It’s to continue collecting piles of money. Norman has again topped the BRW list of Australia’s highest paid sportspeople, hauling in a mammoth $20 million this year.
Knowing he doesn’t play golf much anymore, how much of that actually comes from competing? $322,000. That’s 1.6%. And he’s Australia’s richest sportsperson? Alicia Molik, who hasn’t played tennis for most of the year because of an ear infection earned more than four times that from, you guessed it, playing sport. She’s 44th on the rich list.
So who else is in the list? Joe Hachem and Chad Reed, but you’d be forgiven for having no idea who they are.
Chad is a motorcross star in the US who earned $7.8 million (he’s at number seven), and Joe won $10 million playing a poker tournament (he’s at number four), but he’s probably worth much more than that now. Following his win, it was reported he was negotiating commercial contracts that would triple his fortune. Look out Greg Norman.
Two guys who actually know what shape a ball is, and how to kick it or hit it, finished behind Norman. Harry Kewell came in at number two, earning a kewell (sorry) $12.5 million last year, closely followed by Lleyton Hewitt at number three with $12.1 million.
And what of our beloved cricketers? Well, it seems that immense wealth is harder to achieve wearing creams or pyjamas. Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting came in at a disappointing 27th and 28th respectively. Fair enough, they’re good cricketers, but that’s hardly enough to encourage a new generation of cricketers into the game, now is it?