Tiger Woods Becomes the First Billion Dollar Athlete

It was only a matter of time before this happened.  I am not so sure why so many of you out there are even surprised by this.  He makes a mere seven to ten million a year in tournament earnings but nets over one hundred million a year in sponsorship exemptions alone.  He also is the face of one of the most popular video games on the market as well as doing work with golf course architecture and the Tiger Woods Foundation.  (Just so we are clear, the Tiger Woods Foundation is a not-for-profit.  But, as you and I know, not-for-profit organizations still make a profit.  His profits are just not that of companies like Microsoft or Walmart.)  So when they announced this week that Tiger Woods was the first athlete to hit one billion dollars in career earnings it should have come as no surprise to any of you.

I think the more important thing to look at here is his age.  Tiger is only thirty-three years old.  Yeah, I know, he’s still extremely young.  He has been playing professional golf for over a decade but is only thirty-three.  He will be thirty-four years old by the time the next season starts, but he truly is getting better every single year.  Age does matter at this stage.  Tiger has an incredible career as a PGA Tour player; he has a wife that he loves very much and two incredible children.  This makes him have what I like to call the perfect family.

This year alone Tiger earned just over ten million dollars in tournament earnings.  That, of course, does not include appearance fees that he makes at nearly every tournament that he plays in, rather just the giant check that he receives on Sunday.  Speaking of ten million dollars, Tiger also won that amount for winning the season-long FedEx Cup last Sunday.  Let me get this straight.  He played all season and won just over ten million but played four weeks to win another ten?  Yeah, pretty good pay day for Tiger if I do say so myself.

Who is the one that decides how much Tiger has made?  Sure, it is public knowledge week in and week out what he makes on tour, but he is not really talking about his income from Nike, Wheaties, American Express, Buick, Target, and all of the other sponsors that cut him checks.  This does come from a trusted source.  Forbes is the one claiming that Tiger has surpassed this amount.  I trust this as not a year or so ago I read an article in Forbes Magazine regarding his net assets.  Tiger owns a huge boat, private jet, and an incredible mansion in Florida.  Yes, he owns them.  He paid for his land, house, boat, and everything else inside of it I imagine, with cash.  After all of these big purchases, not including what he had to pay Darius Rucker to play at his wedding, Tiger still had over five hundred million in the bank.  That was over five years ago that report was generated.  That is a lot of income since then and since nearly everything he owns is paid for it is going nowhere but in the bank.

This is a day to celebrate for Tiger, I am sure, becoming the highest paid athlete in any sport.  He continues to shut up critics every week on the golf course, and whether he wins or not, he will be the number one player in the world for the rest of his career.  The dollar bills are not why he plays (although they are a nice benefit of what he does), but rather the records that he can break with a golf club.  Once he surpasses Jack’s major total, as well as when he surpasses the most wins of all time, you will see Tiger slow down a little bit.  He just wants to make sure that when he makes his last putt and walks off his last green, in however many years that is from now, that no one mistakes him as anything but the greatest player to ever play the game.  There has never been a player like him nor will there ever be one like him in the future of the game.