Woods still the game`s biggest earner despite 2010 woes

Tiger Woods has once again ended a year as golf`s top earner.

LOS ANGELES: Tiger Woods has once again ended a calendar year as golf`s top earner, despite suffering a pay cut of USD 48 million after losing his swing and his marriage and failing to win a single tournament.

The American world number two, who celebrated his 35th birthday on Thursday, topped Golf Digest magazine`s annual list for 2010 with overall earnings of USD 74.2 million.

Of that, only USD 2.29 million came from tournament purses with the rest accumulated off-course through endorsements and appearance fees.

Fellow American Phil Mickelson was second with total earnings of USD 40.18 million, followed by Arnold Palmer (USD 36 million), Greg Norman fourth (USD 30 million) and Jack Nicklaus fifth (USD 25.17 million).

Jim Furyk, who collected a USD 10 million bonus for winning the PGA Tour`s season-long FedExCup in September, was sixth on USD 23.58 million.

Other players featuring in the top 50 included South Africans Ernie Els seventh (USD 21.5 million) and Gary Player eighth (USD 15.01 million), Britain`s Lee Westwood ninth (USD 14.73 million) and Ireland`s Padraig Harrington (USD 11.61 million).
Overall earnings were compiled by Golf Digest through interviews with agents, players, executives of companies involved with endorsements, industry analysts and also via the official money lists of the leading professional tours.

In 2009, Woods led the standings with a mind-boggling USD 121.9 million but his earnings have dipped following his unexpected fall from grace after being engulfed by a sex scandal.

The 14-times major champion spent much of 2010 unsuccessfully trying to repair his marriage and also undergoing the fourth swing change of his career.
His troubles led such firms as AT&T and Accenture to end sponsorship deals, costing Woods up to USD 35 million in annual revenue.

He ended his PGA Tour season without a single title for the first time since he turned professional in 1996 and was deposed as world number one by Britain`s Lee Westwood on Nov. 1.

However, since Woods joined forces with Canadian swing coach Sean Foley after the PGA Championship in August, his form has steadily improved and he remains the biggest drawcard in the game.

Bureau Report