Tiger Woods, whose four wins this season have seen him return to the top of golf’s world rankings, is also back on top of the Forbes list of highest-paid sports figures.
An article posted on the magazine’s Web site this week gives the rundown of this year’s list, which will appear in the June 24 issue.
Woods had topped the Forbes list from 2001 to 2011 — staying there despite the loss of some sponsors in the wake of the sex scandal that engulfed him in November 2009 — but he fell to third last year, behind boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao.
Forbes calculates he is back on top, raking in US$78.1 million over the 12 months from June 1 last year through last Saturday from prize money, endorsements, appearance fees and golf course design work.
His resurgence on the course has seen him double his prize money from the previous 12 months.
Forbes said Woods’ victories have further boosted his income thanks to bonuses tied to wins from sponsors Nike and Rolex, while his course design business is improving after some setbacks.
Swiss tennis great Roger Federer ranks second on the list with earnings of US$71.5 million, while Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant is third at US$61.9 million.
Miami Heat star LeBron James, the NBA Most Valuable Player whose team is battling to repeat as champions this season, came in fourth with US$59.8 million and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed the top five with US$51 million.
Mayweather dropped from first to 14th this year — tied with Filipino fight king Pacquiao.
Mayweather had earnings of US$34 million from his fight with Robert Guerrero in May, while in the period covered last year’s list he fought twice.
Pacquiao netted US$26 million from his fight last December with Juan Manuel Marquez, according to Forbes, which reckons Pacquiao also pulled in an estimated US$8 million in endorsements.
Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova was the highest earning woman on the list, in 22nd place. Fellow tennis players Serena Williams of the US and Li Na of China were the only other women in the list of 100 sports figures.
Forbes based its earnings figures on salaries, bonuses, prize money, appearance fees, and licensing and endorsement income.