Tiger Woods: Will Money Play a Role in Tiger's Comeback?

Adam LazarusSenior Analyst IJuly 15, 2011

NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA - JUNE 28: Tiger Woods speaks to the media during a press conference before the AT&T National at Aronimink Golf Club on June 28, 2011 in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Hunter Martin/Getty Images

On SI.com today there was a headline that read: "Forbes: Is Woods starting to run out of money?"

Its author Daniel Roberts wasn't trying to imply that we'll soon see Tiger Woods in a tattered red Nike shirt on a street corner with a "Will Putt for Food" sign. But the article does remind us that for all the hits his public image has taken over the last two years, his bank account has taken  more.

Losing sponsors like Gatorade, AT&T, Gillette and Accenture were tough for Tiger and his camp because it was an indirect public (or more accurately corporate) condemnation of Woods for his sex scandal of 2009-2010.

So that cost him millions of dollars, as did the fact that his game, coincidentally or not, fell on hard times at the exact same stage in his life/career.

Even before his injuries and the scandal, Tiger wasn't playing that many tournaments—the Majors, his own tournament, the TPC, Pebble Beach, Arnold Palmer and Jack  Nicklaus' tournament and a few others. So he wasn't nabbing that many paydays on the course. That didn't really matter because when he was playing he routinely raked in third-place, runner-up, or winner's checks. Since he wasn't doing very well before this recent hiatus, the checks he was earning weren't nearly as high.

Toss in his, according to Forbes, $100 million divorce settlement and Woods might want to consider a Costco membership or cancel that subscription to Billionaires Monthly.

SAN DIEGO - JUNE 15:  Tiger Woods winces due to the pain from his knee injury after his tee shot during the final round of the 108th U.S. Open at the Torrey Pines Golf Course (South Course) on June 15, 2008 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Ross Kinnai
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Still, I don't think this is going to have much of an impact on Tiger's return to golf royalty. That is either going to happen or it's not—the size of his mansion or his wallet or what car he drives to the course doesn't matter. All that does is his health.

If his leg heels and he can find a way to apply less torque to his knee, I expect Tiger to return to the winner's circle sooner rather than later. If it doesn't, he wont.

I think anyone who says "Tiger's losing some of his lavish lifestyle and his spot as one of the richest athletes in the world? He's going to be hungrier than ever!" doesn't know much about Woods.

Since the mid-1990s, Tiger's been arguably the hungriest, most driven athlete in the world. He may have spent it on yachts, houses, cars, charitable causes, etc, but I think money was merely a byproduct of his one true goal: becoming the greatest of all-time.

And that's not something that can be said about every professional athlete, especially golfers, who are often criticized for being content with a $225,000 fifth-place check instead of wishing they had won the trophy.

Besides, we all know that once Tiger starts winning again he'll earn those million dollar winners' checks and Gatorade and the others will come back to him and enough time will have passed.  Or so he hopes.