Despite having not touched a golf club on the PGA Tour in almost six months, Tiger Woods is still one of the most profitable athletes in the world based on endorsements.
This comes from a ranking done by Forbes magazine earlier this month.
The business magazine estimated in its second annual "Fab 40" list that Woods still represents the top sports brand by an athlete, with an estimated value of $82 million.
Despite losing endorsements from AT&T and Accenture, Woods' deals with EA Sports, Nike, and others proved to be more than enough to push Tiger to the top of the Forbes list. As a matter of fact, the $82 million earned was more than the next five athletes combined.
Soccer star David Beckham ($20 million), tennis player Roger Federer ($16 million), NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($14 million), and NBA stars LeBron James and Kobe Bryant ($13 million and $12 million, respectively) round out the top six.
Viewing this data has to make one think that public opinion and "scandal" are not nearly as important as some would want to think. Bryant lost plenty of endorsement deals when he went through his court cases, but nowadays I see a puppet of Kobe on my television every time I watch any sporting event.
My point is athletes can and do recover from these scandals. At the end of the day, Tiger Woods never broke a law with his cheating. This means there's a great chance that should Woods choose to come back to the PGA Tour, the dollars will follow him.
Another fact to look at is, who purchases the products Tiger Woods endorses? You may want him to be a role model, but his products are not for kids. $200 drivers, luxury watches, razor blades—these are not items for eight-year-olds. Grown men buy those products, and you can believe those men have little interest in Tiger's social affairs other than checking out his girlfriends.