Just before Thanksgiving 2009, Tiger Woods hit a historic number. According to a Forbes report at the time, Woods became the first athlete to be worth $1 billion.
Five years later, Woods hit the lowest of lows, personally and professionally, and is now trying to get back on the upswing toward major championship No. 15. While his competitive future is uncertain, Woods' financial future appears bright, according to a sports business expert.
Former CBS Sports president Neal Pilson, who now runs his own sports consulting firm, believes the 14-time major winner is well on his way to earning a second billion, particularly driven by off-course business deals.
Last week, Woods announced a personal and tournament sponsorship deal with Hero Motors, a combined four-year, $32 million deal. The bigger news, however, was that the Hero World Challenge would be moving for the next three years to the Albany development in the Bahamas, in which Woods has a stake along with Joe Lewis, owner of the English Premier League's Tottenham Hotspur and chief of the Tavistock Group. Tavistock developed Isleworth Golf & Country Club, Woods' former home club and host to last week's tournament, and the surrounding community to which Woods moved in 1996.
The effective merger of the World Challenge and the now-defunct Tavistock Cup is not only a big opportunity for Woods' foundation, but also his business post-golf. While Woods' design business is now thriving after a slew of early setbacks out of his control, the golfer can look forward to even more deals in the future.
"If you look at Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, I think they all make substantially more money today than they were making playing golf," Pilson said. "The business opportunities open to Tiger would probably dwarf the other guys."