Tiger Woods became the world's first billion-dollar athlete in 2009, according to Forbes, and in spite of diminished results on the course and a personal scandal away from it, his mind-boggling stream of income continues to flood in.
The figure takes into account both prize money and endorsements—the latter of which accounts for 88 percent of Woods' staggering sum of cash. Rovell explains that even at the lowest point of Woods' personal-life saga, he was still making a whopping $62 million in endorsements alone:
After earning more than $100 million in endorsements in 2008 and 2009, Woods' off-the-course take took a hit due to fallout from news of his extramarital affairs. Things have rebounded slightly from a low of $62 million in endorsement money in 2011, according to the Golf Digest report.
Woods' star power and dominance has exponentially increased purse sizes at PGA Tour events and aided the efforts to globalize golf. His dedication to fitness also spurred a movement for golfers to get in better shape, which may have actually increased Woods' competition on the course in recent years.
The impact Woods has had on golf is roughly proportional to the money he's raked in compared to his peers and predecessors.
While some players have tallied more majors and more wins in the past, no one even comes close to reaching the financial heights Woods has.
Woods raked in $71 million off the course and $12 million on it in 2013. The endorsements alone smoked his closest competition in Phil Mickelson, who totaled an impressive $52 million himself.
It's remarkable that Woods continues to carry so much influence at this point in his career, because while he has won eight times over the past two seasons in a return to the No. 1 ranking, he remains in a slump at the major tournaments.
With regard to the majors at the dawn of the 2014 season, Woods expressed optimism about his chances of claiming victory in a blog post on his official website from Dec. 19:
I'm really excited about the major championships next year. I've won at three of the four venues -- Augusta National, Valhalla Golf Club and Royal Liverpool -- and on Pinehurst No. 2 (U.S. Open), I'm trending the right way, having finished third and second. But I still need to practice, work, grind and prepare, and have my game come together those four times a year, and I hope that will happen.
The last major Woods won came at the 2008 U.S. Open, but given that he's won 14 and is just four away from matching Jack Nicklaus' record, chances are that he'll win one again rather soon.
That will likely create another endorsements surge and boost his popularity even more, which is almost unfathomable in the context of what he's accomplished already.
At age 38 and with plenty of golf still in front of him, health permitting, Woods figures to add quite a sum to his exorbitant earnings before his prolific career reaches its conclusion.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!