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Tiger Woods still No 1 earning athlete

Detroit: Professional golfer Tiger Woods has been off his game since his extramarital affairs were exposed last year, but he is still the world`s highest earning athlete, according to two lists released on Wednesday.

Woods claimed the top spot on a 2010 U.S. list of 50 athletes for the seventh consecutive year compiled by Sports Illustrated`s SI.com, though his total earnings fell 10 percent to $90.5 million. His total is also down 40 percent from $127.9 million in 2008.

Woods also topped Forbes magazine`s 2010 list of the top 50 earning athletes in the world at $105 million, down 4.5 percent from last year as the star golfer has lost such sponsors as Accenture Plc and AT&T Inc. It was the ninth consecutive year he topped the Forbes list.

Overall, the average earnings for the entire U.S. list at SI.com rose 11 percent to a record $26.2 million, and were up 1.7 percent to $30 million for 20 international stars.

Tennis star Roger Federer, at $61.8 million, bumped soccer player David Beckham from the top spot he had held the last two years on the international list, SI.com said.

Woods` earnings for the 2010 list are comprised of $20.5 million in earnings and $70 million in endorsements from such sponsors as Nike Inc and Electronic Arts Inc, SI.com said. Woods` endorsement earnings fell $22 million from last year`s list.

Woods` personal life took center stage for fans after a car accident outside his Florida home last November brought to light extramarital affairs and led him to make a public apology. He has played several tournaments since his April return from a self-imposed, five-month exile but has yet to win.

Rival golfer Phil Mickelson came in second on the 2010 U.S. list at $61.7 million, and the top 10 included four players from the National Basketball Association, led by LeBron James at No. 4 ($45.8 million), SI.com said.

The top 10 also included boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr (No. 3 at $60.3 million), two Major League Baseball stars, including Alex Rodriguez at No. 5 ($37 million), and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning of the National Football League (No. 9 at $30.8 million), SI.com said.

On the international list, Federer jumped from No. 9 last year as his earnings doubled, while Beckham slipped to No. 3 at $40.5 million behind FIFA world soccer player of the year Lionel Messi at $44 million, according to SI.com.

Rounding out the international top five were soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo ($40 million) and boxer Manny Pacquiao ($38 million), SI.com said.

Basketball player Allen Iverson, No. 8 on last year`s U.S. list, dropped entirely out of the top 50, SI.com said. Tennis player Maria Sharapova was the only female athlete to make either list, ranking No. 20 on the international list at $19.9 million.

Rounding out Forbes` top five were boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr ($65 million), NBA star Kobe Bryant ($48 million), Mickelson ($46 million) and Beckham ($43.7 million). Federer ($43 million), James ($42.8 million) and Pacquiao ($42 million) were next on the list, which previously ranked the top 20.

The full SI.com lists are available at http://www.si.com/fortunate50. The Forbes list can be viewed at http://www.forbes.com/sportsmoney.

Bureau Report

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