Tiger Woods returns to top of Forbes’ highest-earning athletes list
Golf fans may not be ready to say that Tiger Woods is officially back until he wins another major tournament, but his wallet would beg to differ. Last year, Tiger was bumped out of the No. 1 spot on Forbes’ list of the highest-paid athletes for the first time since 2011. This year, he is back on top.
After pulling in an estimated $65 million in endorsements and $13.1 million in salary and winnings, Woods’ topped Forbes’ 2013 list of highest-earning athletes by pulling in a total of $78.1 million. Tiger received a bump in endorsements from the $55 million he took home last year, but winning has also made a huge difference as he earned only $4.4 million on the course a year ago.
It appears the dust has officially settled from the sex scandal that rocked Woods’ career in 2009, and his figure could go up next year as he is reportedly on the verge of signing another massive endorsement deal with Nike. Roger Federer came in just behind Woods on Forbes’ 2013 list with a total figure of $71.5 million — $65 million of which came from endorsements. Kobe Bryant was third with $61.9 million and a near split between salary and endorsement money.
Rounding out the top ten were LeBron James, Drew Brees (mainly because of the up-front money in his new deal with the Saints), Aaron Rodgers, Phil Mickelson, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Tom Brady came in at No. 11 with Joe Flacco at No. 13.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., last year’s top earner, fell to No. 14 after only fighting once since the last time the list was released. Manny Pacquiao came in just behind him after taking home the second spot in 2012. Mayweather’s new deal with Showtime and his upcoming fight schedule should have him back near the top in 2014.
One of the biggest takeaways from the 2013 list was the number of quarterbacks who cracked the top 15. Last year, Peyton Manning was the 10th-highest earning athlete and the only NFL quarterback in the top 15. In 2013, four NFL quarterbacks made the top 13. That has a lot to do with new contracts for Brees, Flacco and Rodgers, but it helps accentuate how much guaranteed money elite quarterbacks have been able to command.
Now do you see why that insane bet people were saying Floyd Mayweather Jr. placed on the Heat made no sense? Dude only made $34 million last year. Let’s not get crazy here.
Here is the entire 2013 Forbes list.