Some people seem to be born with silver, golden, even platinum spoon. This would explain why some athletes get away clean with bags full of money despite a harrowing press image and low endorsement options. What else would explain how Tiger Woods got out of his own woods to top the Sports Illustrated list of 50 top-earning American athletes for the seventh straight year in arrow! After the jump is the top-earning five American athletes for 2009, taking into account their salary, winnings, endorsements, and appearance fees.
1. Topping the list is golfer Tiger Woods ($90,508,16) whose winnings came to around $20,508,163 and earned a neat$70,000,000 in endorsements, despite being dropped by Gatorade, AT&T and Accenture. A $10 million FedEx Cup bonus, however ensure he regained his throne.
2. Close on his heels (not too close, though) is yet another golfer Phil Mickelson ($61,660,757 ), who won $9,660,757 and then went on to make $52,000,000 in endorsements, which includes a Golfsmith and Phil-endorsed Callaway leading to a $1 million payout.
3. Change of sport on position number three with Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. ($60,250,000), who missed the bus last time around. Unlike the golfers, he made more money winning bouts ($60,000,000) than while endorsing products ($250,000). His bouts with Juan Manuel Marquez and Shane Mosley made his bank account heavy, especially the one against Mosley, increased his savings by $40millions.
4. Another change of sport comes in the form of NBA with LeBron James ($45,779,912) of the Miami Heat, who slipped down a rank as compared to last year. While $15,779,912 came from his victories, and the balance $30,000,000 through endorsements, a move from Cleveland to Miami make his pockets heavy too!
5. Wrapping up the top five is the New York Yankees MLB player Alex Rodriguez ($33,000,000). Slipping a rank his income for winnings is $4,000,000 and an additional $37,000,000 via endorsements. Maybe he should have held on to his one-acre, six-bedroom estate in Florida which sold for $8.5 million one-third less than its original purchase price.