Tiger Woods becomes first to top $100 million in PGA earnings

Tiger Woods hits off the 11th tee during the first round of the Deutsche Bank Championship golf tournament at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass., Friday, Aug. 31, 2012.
AP Photo/Stew Milne

(CBS News) As recently as last year, much was written about Tiger Woods' fall - not only from the top of the golf world but also from the ranks of the planet's richest athletes.

With sponsors (and his wife) bailing on him, Tiger's endorsements were shrinking and so was his bank account. Allegedly.

Well, "dwindling income" is all relative. Tiger's game has improved and so has his financial outlook. With his third-place finish at the Deutsche Bank Championship on Monday, Woods' earned $544,000 to push his career total to $100,350,700. That makes him the first $100 million man on the PGA Tour.

"The purse increase helps," Woods said after finishing two strokes behind winner Rory McIlroy in the second week of the four-tournament FedEx Cup playoff. "I won fewer tournaments than Sam Snead has, but obviously he was in a different era. It's just that we happened to time it up right and happened to play well when the purses really had a nice spike up."

According to the Associated Press, Snead (the career leader with 82 PGA Tour victories) earned just $620,126 in a career that started in 1937. His biggest prize was $28,000 for a second-place finish in Milwaukee in 1968, and for most of his prime he played in tournaments with a total purse — that's all the payouts combined — of less than $100,000.

Woods has won 74 tournaments, second all-time, including 38 times with a first prize of $1 million or more. His winnings come out to an average of $362,276.89 for each of his 277 career starts.

Woods himself is responsible for the increase in purses. After he turned pro, crowds swelled at tournaments and the TV audience for golf spiked. The "Tiger effect" was simple: Prize money soared on the PGA Tour.

"It was nice to have a nice start to my career, and I won some majors early," he said. "I think we got some interest in the game of golf. A lot more youth, that's for sure."

Next on the earnings list behind Woods? Phil Mickelson, who is more than $30 million behind at $66,805,498.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com

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