The true price of Tiger's rep 

April, 8, 2010

How much is this Masters tournament worth to Tiger Woods?

How about $6 billion?

I know that number might sound crazy, but stay with me. Ten years ago, when Tiger was at his early peak and I was just a pup business writer, The Mag asked me to project his career earnings. I put together the best available numbers for Woods' PGA winnings, worldwide prizes, appearance fees and endorsements, assumed he would dominate golf until he was 30 years old before declining slowly until age 50, then play on the senior tour. All told, I estimated that Woods would make a whopping $6.1 billion during his career.

I didn't adjust Tiger's annual earnings for inflation, taxes or the risk that he might get hurt. Then again, I didn't try to factor in how much he might make from investments, either. That $6.1 billion was just my best stab at a cumulative figure, expressed the same way that golf or tennis or Hollywood talks about any star's lifetime earnings. And behind the number lay key three trends.

Peter Keating

ESPN Senior Writer
Peter Keating is a senior writer at ESPN The Magazine, where he covers investigative and statistical subjects. His column, The Numbers, appears in every issue.