Tiger Woods has now been announced a billionaire by Forbes which estimates his net worth to be at least $1 billion. His net worth was calculated based on his lifetime earnings, making him one of just three known athlete billionaires.

The others are NBA superstar, LeBron James, who has leveraged his fame and fortune by taking equity stakes in a number of businesses, and Michael Jordan, who hit ten digits after he retired, thanks to a well-timed investment in the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.

Golf made Woods a known athlete but less than 10% of his career earnings, and net worth, come from golf winnings. The bulk of his fortune comes from enormous endorsement deals with more than a dozen brands, including Gatorade, Monster Energy, TaylorMade, Rolex and Nike, with whom he signed in 1996 and which remains his biggest backer.

What you should know

  • Woods has used his status and earnings to expand into an array of other ventures, which now include a golf design business (TGR Design), a live events production company (TGR Live) and a restaurant (The Woods).
  • Through TGR Ventures, Woods has taken stakes in Full Swing, a golf technology training tool; Heard, a hospitality software startup; and PopStroke, a luxury mini-golf experience with four locations in Florida and plans to open a half-dozen more locations across the country in 2022.
  • Woods is also identified as a partner in a SPAC announced in January, and he is an investor alongside British billionaire Joe Lewis’ Tavistock Group, golfing rival, Ernie Els and Justin Timberlake in NEXUS Luxury Collection, a group of clubs and resorts.
  • Woods’ impact on golf’s TV ratings, and purse sizes, cannot be overstated. In the early 2000s, according to former CBS president Neal Pilson, TV audiences would drop 30% to 50% when Woods was not in contention at a tournament. This so-called “Tiger Effect” contributed to PGA Tour winnings nearly tripling between 1996 and 2008, a stretch in which Woods won 14 major championships. (He is still a major draw, but less so these days.)
  • He reportedly turned down a “high nine digits” deal to play on the new Saudi-backed golf tour, but still not only made billionaire status but also maintained his supremacy as one of the top-earning athletes in the world, raking in over $1.7 billion in salary, endorsements and other income over the course of his 27-year career.

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