Jon Rahm joined LIV Golf last December Image Credit: Supplied

Following his move to LIV Golf last year, three-time DP World Tour Championship winner Jon Rahm has been named the world’s second highest-paid athlete according to Forbes.

The Spaniard shocked the golfing world in December when defecting to the breakaway circuit for a huge sum, despite previously pledging his loyalty to the PGA and DP World Tour.

The two-time Major winner later admitted that he’d be “lying if money wasn’t a big part” of his move to LIV Golf despite once stating that “I think the best legacy I can accomplish will be with the PGA Tour”.

That switch to the Saudi-backed circuit has seen him become one of the highest-paid sportsman in the world, second only behind football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in Forbes’ annual ‘World’s Highest-Paid Athletes’ list.

Rahm’s total earnings are reported as $218m, $42m behind Ronaldo, who plays for Saudi club Al Nassr.

Rahm’s play-related earnings were reportedly $198m, with endorsements and sponsorships accounting for another $20m.

The 2023 Masters champion is one of five golfers on the list, with Rory McIlroy the second-highest ranked star of the game in 19th place.

The Northern Irishman, who won the Race to Dubai for a fifth time at Jumeirah Golf Estates last season, had earnings of $80.1m, with over half of that coming from off-course ventures.

McIlroy has built a formidable off-course portfolio beyond the greens, including investments in WHOOP and the Alpine F1 team as well as partnering with Tiger Woods to create TGL, which is an innovative golf league that will launch in stadiums across America next year.

Woods appears on the list in 23rd, despite only playing a limited schedule due to injury.

The 15-time Major champion had earnings of $67.2m, with $55m of that coming from away the golf course.

Scottie Scheffler sits in 27th place with total earnings of $59.2m thanks to his remarkable year on the PGA Tour, while Cameron Smith, who moved to LIV Golf in 2022, is 43rd on the list with total earnings of $48m.