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Tiger Woods No. 1 top-earning American athlete again despite scandal

07/21/2010 by Corinne Heller

Tiger Woods No. 1 top-earning American athlete for 7th year Tiger Woods is No. 1 on Sports Illustrated's list of the 50 top-earning American athletes for the seventh consecutive year and has over the past year made $90.5 million, including $70 million from endorsements, despite a sex scandal that tarnished his image and had threatened his golf career.

Woods' earnings were down more than $9 million this year. His salary and winnings rose from $7.7 million to $20.5 million from 2009. However, he lost endorsements from companies such as Gatorade and AT&T after news broke he had cheated on wife Elin Nordegren.

Woods' earnings from such deals fell by $22 million, compared to last year. But Woods still made almost $30 million more fellow golfer Phil Mickelson, who is No. 2 on the list with $61.6 million. Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. is in third place with $60.2 million.

NBA player LeBron James, who recently announced he would leave the Cleveland Cavaliers to play for the Miami Heat, earned $45.7 million over the past year and is No. 4 on the list. New York Yankees baseball player Alex Rodriguez, aka A-Rod, is in fifth place and is said to have made $37 million.

Sports Illustrates says its endorsement estimates for 2010 came from Burns Entertainment & Sports Marketing, other sports-marketing executives and analysts, and agents and that salary figures were based on current or most recently completed seasons. 

Woods was found to have earned $128 million two years ago. He was recently listed fifth on Forbes annual Celebrity 100 list and publication had said Woods made $105 million last year.

Woods earlier this year apologized publicly about his infidelity and has undergone therapy. He and Nordegren are reported to be in the process of getting divorced. One alleged mistress, Rachel Uchitel, is set to star in the reality show Celebrity Rehab.

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