Tiger Woods’ $1.3 billion in earnings makes him the richest golfer in history

David Cannon

Tiger Woods has earned an eye-popping $1.3 billion in his storied career.

Tiger Woods, to no one’s great surprise, has nudged his career earnings to the $1.3 billion mark after a PGA Tour Player of the Year 2013 in which he won five times and earned $83 million in doing so.

Woods who became the first athlete to break the $1 billion barrier in 2009, according to Forbes, claimed Golf Digest’s annual money title after coming in ahead of Phil Mickelson ($52 million), Arnold Palmer ($40 million), Jack Nicklaus ($26 million), and, well, every other player on the planet.

Despite losing a bevy of commercial boosters after his 2009 sex scandal, Tiger earned some 88 percent of his career-long stipend from endorsements, according to the February issue of the publication. His 79 tour victories, which are second only to Sam Snead’s all-time leading 82 and equal a mind-blowing 26 percent winning percentage, did not hurt Woods in the pocketbook. But, as Golf Digest’s 11th annual money list noted, while Woods has deposited more than $155 million in prize money over the years, purses comprise under 12 percent of his total career earnings.

The times, though, they are a-changin’, according to GD, which observed that the dramatic "explosion" in prize money could turn the "90/10 rule" — in which business arrangements account for 90 percent of elite athletes’ paychecks, with the remaining 10 percent earned on the course — on its head.

Henrik Stenson, for example, won more than $18.5 million last year, thanks to his FedExCup and European Tour Race to Dubai successes. With that "astonishing" number, which represented nearly 87 percent of his earnings, the third-ranked player in men’s golf shot up to fifth place on the GD 50.

Should he continue to win at a similarly awesome pace, it would appear that Woods need not worry about the formula.

If he ever cadges that elusive 15th grand slam event, Tiger’s worth will skyrocket even more, as the new economics proved for last year's major winners. Justin Rose’s $1.2 million TaylorMade contract reportedly doubled in value after he won the U.S. Open, and Callaway purportedly forked over an extra $1 million to Mickelson after his Open Championship triumph.

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