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Golf endorsements worth $400m a year

Fueled by Tiger Woods, endorsement spending for golf has reached $400 million worldwide, according to a survey by Golf World magazine.

Woods, who has a five-year $100 million contract with Nike, will earn $56.4 million this year. But other golfers are also cashing in on the rush by companies to identify with the sport.

Endorsement income probably pushed the earnings for the top 75 players to $1 million, although just 45 players reached that figure in tour winnings.

Golf World cites Glen Day, No. 75 on the list, who won $617,242, but reached $1 million with endorsement income.

Woods has helped raise TV ratings, attracting advertising and endorsement support from nongolf companies. Endorsement spending by equipment companies is largely unchanged since 1996 but spending by companies outside golf increased by more than 200 percent.

Companies like golf, the magazine said, because the players can plaster logos on their shirts and caps unlike uniformed players in other sports. Also, $2.8 billion was spent on golf equipment in 1999, eight times more than the amount spent on baseball and softball equipment.

"The reputation our players have developed is fundamental to everything we do,'' PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said. "It gives us an edge in the marketplace.''

"Golf has a pretty ripe audience,'' said Tom Jump, director of advertising and promotion for Buick. "It's educated, affluent and in the 35- to 50-year-old range. Golf has helped us appeal to a wider audience.''

Arnold Palmer still makes about $18 million a year. Greg Norman earns about $16 million, according to Golf World estimates.

The magazine says the next batch of golfers, in the range of $5 million to $7 million a year, includes Davis Love III, Mickelson, David Duval, Tom Watson, Colin Montgomerie, Jack Nicklaus, and Jumbo Ozaki.

In baseball, Ken Griffey Jr. is believed to earn the most in endorsement income, about $5 million.

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