Tiger off the top of Forbes

Woods off the summit for the first time in more than a decade

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By Alex Perry on Wed, 20 Jun 2012 - 02:06

Tiger Woods has failed to top Forbes’ Highest Paid Athletes list for the first time since 2001.

The 14-time major champion, who looked back to his best at last week’s US Open before falling away over the weekend, has dropped back to third in the list at $59million behind boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao.

Other golfers to make the list include Phil Mickelson, seventh with $48million in the bank, while Ernie Els and Rory McIlroy scrape into the top-100 at $17million.

Woods’ total earnings fell $16million in the last 12 months and have halved since their peak 2009. And despite something of a revival on the course for the 36-year-old, the prize money doesn’t offset the loss of sponsors, such as Tag Heuer and Gillette, who dumped him after the sleazy antics of his private life were dramatically made public just over two years ago.

Woods’ golf course design business also continues to struggle, with development of his Dubai and North Carolina courses both shutting down.

The two boxers above Woods in the list aren’t without their problems. Pacquiao recently lost a controversial bout to Timothy Bradley, while Mayweather – nicknamed “Money” - is currently serving three months for domestic battery.

But despite his controversial private life, Mayweather is an astute businessman. The 35-year-old promotes acts as his own fight promoter through Mayweather Promotions, meaning he takes home all revenue from tickets, pay-per-view and sponshorship.

Mayweather has fought just twice in the last year and spent just under 60 minutes in the ring in total.

$85million-an-hour. Good work if you can get it…

Forbes’ Highest Paid Athletes 2012

$85m Floyd Mayweather (Boxing)
$62m Manny Pacquiao (Boxing)
$59m Tiger Woods (Golf)
$53m LeBron James (Basketball)
$53m Roger Federer (Tennis) 
$52m Kobe Bryant (Basketball)
$48m Phil Mickelson (Golf)
$46m David Beckham (Soccer)
$43m Cristiano Ronaldo (Soccer)
$42m Peyton Manning (Gridiron)

Click here to see the full 100.

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