Less Than Half Of Tiger Woods’ Net Worth Was Earned On The Golf Course, But These Endorsements Made Him A Billionaire

When anyone mentions the world’s richest athletes, names like Michael Jordan and Cristiano Ronaldo come to mind, but Tiger Woods follows close behind. Simply put, Tiger Woods is to golf what Michael Jordan is to basketball, and his status as one of the greatest players of the sport is reflected in his insane net worth of $1.1 billion.

While the world recognizes him for his skillful precision at putting a hole-in-one on the golf course, only a small portion of his net worth can be attributed to the money he made actually playing golf. And, despite being the top-earning professional golfer of all time, much of his fortune has come from endorsement deals and other business ventures. These are the endorsements responsible for making Tiger Woods a billionaire.

 

Like many other world-class athletes who have achieved G.O.A.T. status, Tiger Woods was introduced to golf at an extremely early age – before the age of two. His father, Earl Woods, was a single-digit handicap amateur golfer, and inspired Tiger to play the sport that would give him the title of the highest-earning golfer of all time.

According to Golf, Woods remains at the pinnacle of golf’s all-time earning list with a total of $120,954,766. Again, this figure reflects his golf earnings only from PGA Tours, minus the money he has received from endorsement deals and other golf tournaments.

This is significant because Tiger Woods is the only professional golfer to have made nine figures in PGA Tour earnings. Behind him in second place is the 53-year-old golfer, Phil Mickelson, who has earned $96,572,310. Woods’ net worth has been on the incline ever since he burst onto the scene in 1996, and has only seen a dramatic increase ever since. A few of the highlights of his dynamic career include 82 PGA Tour wins, 41 European Tour wins, and five Masters wins. So, the $120.9 million doesn’t even include the earnings from other major professional golf tournaments he’s won.

Tiger Woods was such an elite golf player at the junior and amateur level that as soon as he became a professional golfer in 1996, he signed his first contract with Nike. The initial Nike endorsement was a five-year agreement worth $40 million, according to Sportskeeda. However, since then, the contract has been updated four times over the span of his career. The first update came in 2001, which more than doubled the earnings of his first contract, roughly around $100 million. Around the time, Woods was 26, and the agreement would be for another five years.

The third contract update was scheduled for 2006, at which point Tiger Woods began earning $200 million from the Nike contract, this time for a ten-year agreement. Nike also proved to be Woods’ most loyal endorsement company, being that they upheld their contract agreement with him despite the negative publicity about extramarital affairs he received, as well as other run-ins with the law. Over the span of their 27-year contract agreement, it’s safe to say that Nike doesn’t have plans to end their endorsement deal with Tiger Woods any time soon.

Another sponsorship that made Tiger Woods a fortune was the sports beverage and food products company, Gatorade. While it doesn’t count as one of his long-term endorsements, lasting just two years, Woods still added significantly to his net worth for that period. According to Verdict, his sponsorship deal with Gatorade lasted between 2007 and 2009, earning him upward of $40 million annually.

When the company dropped him in December 2009, Tiger Woods left with $120.9 million, largely because he refused to take a one-time payment. Instead, he opted to take a cut of the profits from the sales of Gatorade Tiger Woods Thirst Quencher products, which came out in 2008. While it’s unclear whether Gatorade’s decision to drop him from the endorsement had anything to do with the affairs of his private life, getting a cut of the Gatorade product sales was a genius move.

 

One of Tiger Woods’ more recent brand endorsements is with the golf ball manufacturing company, Bridgestone, which was signed in 2016. The multi-year deal came about as a result of Nike unexpectedly announcing their discontinuation of golf equipment production. The move by Bridgestone was strategic, being that Woods was, and still is, the face of golf, despite being in his early forties at the time of signing the deal.

According to a report from CNBC, the details of the contract were not known, but it’s estimated that Tiger Woods is making $1-2 million per year, which is much less than what he made in his prime.

In July 2014, the performance lifestyle and nutritional supplement brand, MusclePharm, signed a four-year contract with Tiger Woods giving them the right to have their logo plastered on his gold bag. Everything seemed to be going well, but close to two years after signing the contract, MusclePharma announced their desire to prematurely end their contract, which was supposed to end in June 2018.

MusclePharma also agreed to pay Tiger Woods an additional $2.5 million as an incentive to close the deal, which he agreed to. According to ESPN, he played a total of 15 tournaments with the company’s logo advertised on his golf bag, for which he was paid $7 million. It’s believed that the contract was terminated because of a need to save money. This may be true, because earlier that year, MusclePharm also terminated their deal with Arnold Schwarzenegger, which is said to have saved them $22.5 million.

The business relationship between Rolex and Tiger Woods seems like it was meant to be. That’s because the GOAT of golfing first signed his first contract with Rolex in 1997, right after turning pro. However, he abandoned his endorsement deal with the luxury company in 2002 in favor of a deal with their rival watch company, Tag Heuer, according to GQ. However, due to the negative publicity surrounding infidelity to his ex-wife Eilin Nordegren, Tag Heuer ended their sponsorship deal with him in 2011. Later that same year, Rolex showed their undying support for Woods by offering him a five-year endorsement deal valued at $7 million.

 

Another one of Tiger Woods’ recent endorsement deals, and one of his most lucrative, is with Hero MotoCorp Limited – an Indian motorcycle and scooter manufacturer. Despite having nothing to do with golf, the motorcycle company signed a four-year endorsement deal with Woods in December 2014 that was reported to be paying him more than $10 million per year. When the contract was coming to an end in December 2018, the company renewed the endorsement deal for another four years. Woods is believed to still be endorsed by the company.

Gideon Canice

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