Celebrity Then And Now
Tiger Woods
Name: Tiger Woods
Birthdate: December 30, 1975
Famous Years: 1996-Present
Currently Known For: 2nd in All-Time PGA Tour Wins
Networth: $740 MillionFamous For: 14 Major PGA Tournament Championships
Tiger Woods
Name Tiger Woods
Birthdate December 30, 1975
Famous Years 1996-Present
Currently Known For 2nd in All-Time PGA Tour Wins
Networth $740 Million
Famous For 14 Major PGA Tournament Championships

Even if you can’t name another professional golfer in the world, almost everybody can still name Tiger Woods. Woods entered the PGA Tour in 1996, and quickly established himself as one of the best players around, winning the Rookie of the Year Award. In his second season as a professional golfer, Woods would win the tour’s largest tournament, the Masters.

Woods was a rare sight on the tour as a man that was half African-American and half Asian, breaking barriers in the sport. This instantly made him marketable, as well as the fact that he was simply better than all of the other golfers, and it was clear. Between 1997 and 2008, Woods would win a total of 14 major championships, which is second on the all-time list behind Jack Nicklaus.

It hasn’t just been major championships where Woods has excelled, as he’s won a total of 79 tournaments on the PGA Tour, with another 40 on the European Tour and 20 other tournaments away from the two big ones. Woods is second on the list of all-time PGA Tour wins, just three behind Sam Snead. It looked like at one point that he would cruise through to shatter those records, but it’s been 10 years since his last major championship and five years since his last tournament win. Still, his career earnings from golf purses alone put him far and away at the top of the list with $111,878,724, which is $24.3 million above second place (Phil Mickelson).

It seemed that Woods was on top of the world, not only as the best golfer by a longshot, but also the highest earning athlete. The turning point would come in November 2009 when Woods was involved in a car accident in the early hours of the morning and stories came out that he had been unfaithful to his wife, Elin Nordegren, causing the conflict in the first place. This prompted many companies to come under pressure for supporting Woods, which caused a huge shift.

Major companies would completely drop Woods from their endorsement deals, with the biggest one being Gatorade. Many of these companies would lose millions of dollars as a result of losing perhaps their biggest spokesman. After a few years, there were no more Tiger Woods video games, no more Tiger Woods specialty sports drinks, and far fewer commercials featuring the golfer.

One company that stuck by Woods through controversy was Nike, who had made a lot of money thanks to some of his iconic moments, including the infamous chip-in at the Masters that prominently featured the Nike logo as the ball sat on the lip of the cup. Even as Woods lost out on more than $20 million in endorsements in the first year alone after his marriage ended, Nike was still paying.

That would come to an end in 2016, however, as Nike announced that they would no longer be making golf clubs, which came as major news on the PGA. Woods had featured Nike’s clubs throughout his career, and suddenly it was gone. Nike CEO Phil Knight said it was “an easy financial decision” but that “It was hard emotionally. It was hard emotionally for Tiger...He was upset, and I was upset. It was something we would have rather not have happened, but the financial reality just led us to it.”

Woods would continue to be sponsored by Nike, however, wearing clothing that featured the brand logo. However, Nike dropping their actual golf equipment line meant that he had to find a new set of clubs and balls to use on the course. The man that had once been making an estimated $100 million per year alone simply from endorsements has now gone down to around $30 million, and had to search for new deals.

With Nike out of the picture, Woods decided that the golf ball he would use was the Bridgestone B330-S, signing a multi-year deal with the third largest golf ball maker in the world. It was estimated that the contract was worth $1-2 million per year, which is $2-4 million less than what Nike had been paying for the balls. As for the golf clubs, Woods announced shortly after his Bridgestone deal that he’d be signing with TaylorMade and that the transition from his old Nike clubs would be a gradual one. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but it was also expected to be a multi-year deal worth around $5-6 million by some estimates.

Woods is still signed with many companies that endorse him, including Monster Energy and Hero MotoCorp. The list is much shorter than it used to be at one point, but still notably higher than any other golfer in the world. When Woods announces that he’s going to be playing in an upcoming tournament, it’s still must-see TV and people tune in just to watch him play. He might never get back to the level he was once at, but make no doubt about it, Woods is still a huge draw.