The 2016 list marks the first time in 13 years that either Tiger Woods or now-retired Floyd Mayweather did not hold the No.1 spot.
World golf No.1 Day’s brilliant form helped put the 28-year-old among the world’s top 100 earners for the first time – at equal 69th with NBA two-time MVO Stephen Curry with $US23.6 million ($A31.58 million).
It allowed to him pass Curry’s teammate Andrew Bogut as Australia’s highest-earning athlete.
His rise follows a 12-month period in which he earned $US15.1 million ($A20.21 million) on the golf course, and a further $US8.5 million ($A11.37 million) in endorsements.
He is the only Australian in the top 100 list.
Woods dropped out of the top 10 for the first time in 20 years.
He may rank as the world’s best player but Day is far from being golf’s top earner.
That honour now goes to Phil Mickelson in eighth spot on $US52.9 million ($A71 million), while Day’s closest world rankings rival Jordan Spieth is marginally behind him in ninth.
Ronaldo’s $US88 million ($A117 million) put him in top spot, with $US7.6 million ($A10.17 million) more than Messi.
The pair are the only soccer stars in the top 10, with Lebron James (third), Kevin Durant (fifth) and Kobe Bryant (10th) make basketball the most prominent.
Tennis stars Roger Federer (fourth) and Novak Djokovic (sixth) also figure, as does Carolina Panthers NFL quarterback Cam Newton in seventh.
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