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Woods set to earn $54m a year off the course

The total purse on the PGA Tour the year Tiger Woods turned pro was $69.1 million. It might not be too long before he makes that much in a year, on and off the golf course.

Once his new five-year contract with Nike Inc. takes effect next August, Woods will bring in about $54 million each year from endorsement deals he has with 11 companies, according to this week's issue of Golf World.

The magazine cited a variety of sources familiar with the contracts, which range from the $100 million deal Woods signed Friday with Nike to a five-year, $10 million deal with the company that performed Lasik eye surgery on Woods a year ago.

On the course, Woods already has earned close to $8.3 million this year with three tournaments still to play. He receives a reported $1 million appearance fee when he plays overseas, such as the Johnnie Walker Classic in Thailand, and he also plays the unofficial Grand Slam of Golf and his own Williams World Challenge.

While Woods grew up in a middle-class home, such riches are nothing new since he turned pro in 1996, and signed a five-year, $40 million deal with Nike. Since then, he has won 24 times on the PGA Tour, including the career Grand Slam.

"Money has never been important to Tiger,'' his father, Earl Woods, told The Associated Press. "If it was, Tiger would have about five times, or maybe seven times, as many endorsement dollars as he does have. He'd be a hell of a lot richer. Obviously, it would curtail his development and affect his performance.''

Money hasn't done much to change Woods, who has raised the standards in golf. He became the first player since 1953 to win three straight majors, and already at age 24 has enough tour victories to achieve a lifetime exemption.

"Probably the single most thing I admire about Tiger Woods is he can sign a $100 million deal today, and wake up tomorrow with the same desire to be the best in the world,'' Hal Sutton said Monday when told of the new Nike contract.

According to Golf World, Woods's biggest deals after that with Nike are with Buick, EA Sports and Asahi Beverages, each worth about $30 million over five years. He also has a five-year deal with American Express that the magazine said was worth $26 million.

Perhaps the greatest example of Woods' endorsement power is the deal with TLC Laser Eye Centers, which he signed in February.

Among the first golfers to have the Lasik surgery were Fred Funk and former PGA champion Mark Brooks.

Mike Biggs of Gaylord Sports Entertainment, which represents Brooks, once said he approached the company with the idea of a "TLC team'' on the PGA Tour. The players involved would not have had such a high profile as Woods, and the proposal was not nearly as lucrative.

"We were told ... they had just turned a profit and could not justify spending endorsement money on a golfer,'' Biggs said. "Six months later, we start hearing rumors about Tiger reaching a seven-figure deal with TLC.''

Woods gives TLC nothing more than a testimonial about his experience with Lasik, and gets $2 million.

Tiger Woods at the PGA ChampionshipAllsport

Where does the money go?

Earl Woods said his son puts the money earned from tournaments into a fund to build a house in Orlando, Fla. Some of the endorsement money goes to the Tiger Woods Foundation, which was created to provide more minority participation in golf.

"Many people want Tiger to design golf courses or take over joint-capital ventures,'' his father said. "He doesn't need inherited problems. Nothing comes between Tiger and what he is supposed to be doing.''

As for the amount of money Woods will be making, his father saw no problem with that.

"Actors and actresses routinely make as much money or more by virtue of having a minimal talent of the ability to act, or play guitar and scream over a microphone with no trained voice,'' Earl Woods said. "It's because they're entertainers."



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