Tiger Woods ranks No. 1 among Forbes’ highest-paid athletes

Scott Halleran

Tiger Woods, despite the stink bomb he threw at last week’s Memorial Tournament, is once again on top of the golf universe as its best player and highest earner.

Indeed, the world No. 1, who lost the top spot in Forbes roster of 100 highest-paid active athletes to boxer Floyd Mayweather in 2012, regained it in the magazine’s accounting of the sports world's most handsomely rewarded in the past 12 months.

Woods, reportedly on the cusp of signing a new mega-deal with Nike, which stood by its man throughout his personal ordeal, made $78.1 million, largely from prize money ($13.1 million) and endorsements ($65 million). Tiger and his faithful backer took a humorous shot from late-night host Jimmy Kimmel earlier this week.

Some $10 million in appearance fees from starts in Abu Dhabi, China, Malaysia, Turkey, and West Virginia for the 2012 Greenbrier Classic, and golf course design compensation made up the rest of Tiger’s riches from June 1, 2012-June 1, 2013, according to Forbes.

The publication noted that Woods “lost five sponsors, $50 million in annual income, his place atop the world golf rankings and his marriage” after his SUV backed into that fire hydrant on Thanksgiving night 2009.

As a recent Nike ad boasted, however, “Winning takes care of everything,” because six victories in the past year have returned the money title to Tiger, who owned it from 2001 until 2012. Nike, a mainstay on Woods’ financial statement since 1996, rewarded Tiger to the tune of $20 million over the past year, according to Forbes, which noted that Nike Golf revenues jumped 10 percent last year to $726 million after a three-year downturn.

Other golfers making it to the Forbes register included Phil Mickelson (7th, with $48.7 million), Rory McIlroy (No. 21/$29.6 million), Ernie Els (78th/$19.5 million), and Brandt Snedeker (81st/$19 million).

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