Tiger Woods Is Back On Top Of The World’s Highest-Paid Athletes
Tiger Woods had a dramatic fall from grace after his 2009 Thanksgiving car crash. He lost five sponsors, $50 million in annual income, his place atop the world golf rankings and his marriage. But with six victories over the last 12 months, Woods is back at No. 1 on the course and on Forbes’ annual ranking of the world’s highest-paid athletes—a spot he occupied every year from 2001 until 2012, when boxer Floyd Mayweather ranked first.
Forbes estimates that Woods pulled in $78.1 million over the last year from prize money, endorsements, appearance fees and golf course design work. His resurgence on the links boosted his prize money over the last 12 months to $13.1 million, double his total from the prior year. He now has 78 career wins, only four short of the all-time record held by Sam Snead.
The World’s 100 Highest-Paid Athletes
- #1 Tiger Woods
- Total Earnings: $78.1 million
- Salary/winnings: $13.1 million
- Endorsements: $65 million
Tiger Woods has been the hottest golfer on the planet with six tournament wins over the past 12 months. His prize money has doubled and his off-course income is up thanks to sponsor bonuses with Nike and Rolex tied to his wins and a return to the top of the World Golf Rankings. Woods has also been busy overseas collecting more than $10 million in appearance fees from stops in Abu Dhabi, China, Malaysia and Turkey. Woods’ golf course-design business has also picked up after multiple blowups. Developers broke ground on a new course in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, which is likely to be the first completed Woods-designed course.
Woods’ off-course income is also up big thanks to sponsor bonuses tied to his strong play. Woods continues to get a healthy payout from his Tiger Woods PGA Tour video game franchise, with new versions released annually by Electronic Arts. This year’s is the 16th in the series, which is the fifth biggest sports franchise all-time for EA and has generated $754 million of revenue in the U.S. since its initial launch in 1998, according to research firm NPD Group. Other partners in Woods’ endorsement stable include Nike, Rolex, Upper Deck, TLC Eye Centers, NetJets, Japan’s Kowa and sports nutrition firm Fuse Science.
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.
Tiger Woods still tops U.S. Open odds
U.S. Open odds are out and guess who’s at the top of the field? Tiger Woods leads all competitors with 7-2 odds, followed closely by Rory McIlroy at 16-1, Adam Scott at 20-1, and Matt Kuchar at 22-1.
Woods’ odds are exactly the same as his Augusta odds while McIlroy (12-1 at the Masters) and Scott (25-1) also compare favorably. Kuchar was 33-1 at Augusta.
Here’s a full look at the favorites:
Tiger Woods: 7-2
Rory McIlroy: 16-1
Adam Scott: 20-1
Matt Kuchar: 22-1
Brandt Snedeker: 25-1
Graeme McDowell: 25-1
Justin Rose: 25-1
Phil Mickelson: 25-1
Charl Schwartzel: 28-1
Lee Westwood: 28-1
Luke Donald: 28-1
I’m a big fan of that Schwartzel 28-1 number. I also like Louis Oosthuizen at 40-1 and Bo Van Pelt at 80-1. Obviously betting golf is a fool’s game but all three of those seem like good spots to me.
Statistical proof that Tiger Woods of 2013 is the same as Tiger of 2000
If you choose to answer the above question from a high level, thus remembering that Tiger won an astounding nine tournaments in 2000, you’ll probably agree with the statement that there is a difference between Tiger of 2000 and Tiger now. After all, people recall information from the past in clusters. It’s just more intellectually efficient to group past events together for easier recollection instead of remembering, “Hey, Tiger’s average score was blah blah blah that year…”.
However, when you compare Tiger’s individual performance in the four tournaments he’s won before June in both years, something interesting happens. Allow me to explain.
First and foremost, the best statistical analysis of Tiger Woods I have probably ever seen came from Grantland’s Bill Barnwell in 2012. In his work, Barnwell used something called the Z-Score to show exactly how dominant Woods has been throughout his career in comparison to the other players in each tournament field. Woods was not only statistically better than his peers, he was significantly and historically better. I highly recommend reading Barnwell’s analysis. It’s downright fantastic.
The only element of the above study’s work that left me uneasy, however, was that Z-Scores rely heavily on the performance or value of other variables in a sample population (i.e., Tiger’s Z-Score is influenced by the performance of other golfers in the same tournament). The Z-Score doesn’t speak to how Tiger compared tohimself in past years, specifically. That brings me back to the aforementioned question of Tiger 2000 vs. Tiger 2013.