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October 01, 2009

Forbes: Tiger Woods is first athlete to reach $1 billion

Posted at 11:13 AM by Ryan Reiterman | Categories: Tiger Woods

It's good to be Tiger Woods. Forbes.com is reporting that Woods is the first athlete to reach $1 billion in earnings, beating out Michael Jordan and Michael Schumacher.

Woods earned more than $10.5 million in giant cardboard checks this year on the PGA Tour and added another $10 million last weekend by winning the FedEx Cup. According to Forbes, that little bonus was enough to push Woods over the $1 billion mark.

Forbes has been tracking athlete earnings since before Tiger turned pro. Woods had earned a cumulative $895 million going into 2009, by our estimates, from prize money, appearance fees, endorsements, bonuses and his golf course design business. If you add his $10.5 million in 2009 prize money, the FedEx bonus and his take so far this year from his more than $100 million in annual off-the-course earnings, Woods' career earnings are now 10 figures.

The article points out that only Woods's accountant truly knows if he's a billionaire, but one thing is certain: Tiger's money-making potential won't slow down anytime soon.

The most stunning part is that Woods is only 33 years old--he might have 15 years of competitive golf left in him, and 30-plus years of designing courses. This is only the first billion for Woods.

Woods has been the highest-paid American athlete for years, and the competition isn't even close. In this year's Fortunate 50, SI's annual ranking, Woods's estimated total earnings were nearly $100 million, far exceeding Phil Mickelson in second ($53 million) and LeBron James in third ($42.4 million). Amazingly, Woods made even more the year before, according to SI -- $128 million.

More on Tiger: How Tiger Makes his Millions | Tiger Tracker | Family Album | SI Covers

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