Just think back to 1996, when Tiger Woods turned professional with all the promise in the world. He won two events that season, earned just under $800,000 for the year and had a lot of us wondering if this was the man that was going to change the game of golf.
Two decades later and Woods is the first golfer to pass the billion dollar mark. All of this is according to Golf Digest, who has Woods bringing in $1.3 billion for his career thanks to a 2013 that saw Tiger earn $83 million for the season.
Woods was the top earner for the year in golf, followed by Phil Mickelson ($52 million), Arnold Palmer ($40 million), Jack Nicklaus ($26 million), Henrik Stenson ($19 million) and Rory McIlroy ($18 million).
According to the report, nearly 88 percent of the $1.3 billion mark was earned in endorsements for Woods, but he still has pulled in a hefty number just from winning golf tournaments at a phenomenal rate (Tiger has 79 PGA Tour wins over his career, second most all-time behind Sam Snead's 82, a number Woods could catch in 2014).
It is crazy when you think about how much money that is for a professional golfer. Woods took the price of purses from a number that would change your year to a number that would change your life, basically winning around $1 million per PGA Tour win if you average it all out. His marketing reach was obviously hurt back during the scandal years, but he's bounced back over the last few years to pick up some sponsors and help that number off the course.
Still, when you think about that $83 million number for last season you realize just how important Tiger is to the game and just how much more he means to certain sponsors than any other golfer on the planet.