Tiger Woods Once Again Tops Forbes' List of Highest-Paid Athletes

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterJune 5, 2013

Tiger Woods is once again earning and burning. The No. 1 golfer in the world just topped Forbes' list of highest-paid athletes. 

In a remarkable turn from where he was just a couple years ago, Woods has once again found his game and gotten deals from sponsors that have made him a very rich individual.

Here is the top five from an extensive list you can view over at Forbes

  1. Tiger Woods - $78.1 million 
  2. Roger Federer - $71.5 million 
  3. Kobe Bryant - $61.9 million 
  4. LeBron James - $59.8 million 
  5. Drew Brees - $51 million 

Before we get to how remarkable Woods' triumphant return to the money leader spot has been, let's delve into some interesting aspects of this list. 

The total Forbes settles on for each athlete is a simple addition of their salary/winnings and endorsements for the year. Woods took his $13.1 million in winnings and dumped them on top of a mountain of endorsements that totaled $65 million.

While individual sports and their athletes pepper nicely throughout the list, football, basketball and soccer do very well for their respective stars.

Of the top 20 athletes, five are from the NFL and four represent the NBA, while soccer chimes in with three in the upper echelon of earners.

Despite his persona as someone made of money, Floyd Mayweather comes in at No. 14 on the list. Although, something tells me he isn't hurting with $34 million in winnings. 

Baseball, in all its rising popularity, only welcomes one athlete to the top 20 on the list. It's Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez (No. 18), who is currently being dragged through PED mud once again. 

As for Woods, Forbes' Kurt Badenhausen has a full report on the golfer who was struck with a great deal of personal tumult in 2009 and lost many sponsors as a result.

As the report states, Woods "lost five sponsors, $50 million in annual income, his place atop the world golf rankings and his marriage." Not only that, he seemed to lose every last vestige of his classic self on the golf course. 

After a great start to the year, Woods now finds himself at the No. 1 spot in his sport despite recent troubles at the Memorial Tournament.

He endorses companies like EA Sports, Rolex and, of course, Nike. Speaking of the sports apparel company, they have enjoyed a similar boost recently, via Badenhausen.

Nike remains Woods’ biggest meal ticket, paying him more than $20 million annually by our count, and the company is on the verge of signing Woods to a contract extension, which will keep Woods as the top golf endorser at the $25 billion-in-sales sports behemoth. Revenues at Nike Golf rose 10% last year to $726 million after three straight years of declines. Woods first partnered with Nike when he turned pro in 1996 with a five-year, $40 million deal.

Badenhausen also notes Woods topped this very list from 2001 until 2012. 

Heading into the U.S. Open, Woods seems far more like the golfer who won major after major and less like the shunned pariah who couldn't put consistent rounds together. 

More than winning tournaments, this latest list proves he is once again something we never thought possible: an extremely marketable athlete.

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