Tiger Woods becomes first athlete to earn $1 billion

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Forbes reports that Tiger Woods is now the first athlete in history to earn $1 billion over the course of a career.

Not bad for a 33-year old who’s still in the prime of his career. According to Forbes, he passed the $1billion mark when he earned $10 million for winning the FedEx Cup last week. It might be a mistake to put too much emphasis on the Forbes calculation since a huge chunk of Woods’ earnings come from endorsement deals where financial terms are not disclosed. His career earnings on the PGA Tour are now up to $92,862,539, to be exact.

But his golf earnings represent a tiny part of his income. In 2008 alone, Woods earned an estimated $110 million, with just $5.775 million coming from the PGA Tour. Given that he only played six events that year, his earnings per event came to a mind-blowing $18.3 million including endorsements.

In addition to his deal with Nike, Woods has earned millions from contracts with companies including Titleist, General Mills, American Express, Accenture, Electronic Arts, and until recently, General Motors.

It will be interesting to see how well Woods’ income stream lines up after he retires. Michael Jordan hasn’t played in the NBA since 2003, but he still earns about $45 million per year — mostly from Nike and far more than the highest paid athletes in baseball, basketball, or football earn as players.

Forbes Top Ten Best Paid Athletes

  1. Tiger Woods
  2. Michael Schumacher
  3. Peyton Manning
  4. Michael Jordan
  5. Shaquille O’Neal
  6. Kevin Garnett
  7. Andre Agassi
  8. David Beckham
  9. Alex Rodriguez
  10. Kobe Bryant
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