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Tiger Woods, the first billion-dollar athlete

October 2, 2009 | 10:55 am

Tigerwoodsfedex Yes, that's B as in $1 billion.

Forbes magazine figures that Tiger Woods has topped $1 billion in career earnings, not just from prize money but also all that loot Nike, Gatorade, Tag Huer and other advertisers pay the golf star, plus income from his golf design business and lofty appearance fees.

In fact, the magazine says that the $10 million Woods pocketed Sunday by winning the FedEx Cup title pushed him over the $1-billion mark.

Woods, who is 33, turned pro in 1996 and won the Masters the next year, the first of his 14 professional majors.

What's equally remarkable about Woods' earning power is that the only two other athletes anywhere near him have already retired: Michael Jordan has career earnings of $800 million, Forbes says, including $45 million a year from Nike as the Air Jordan brand continues to soar in sales. And ex-Formula One driver Michael Schumacher has earned $700 million in his career.

Given Woods' relatively young age, Forbes predicts: "This is only the first billion for Woods."

-- Barry Stavro

Photo: Tiger Woods clinches the FedEx Cup title on Sunday. Credit: Dave Martin / Associated Press

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