And Woods has won so much booty—money, you filthy-minded slugs—that we stopped counting long ago. He’s already pocketed more Tour cash (nearly $70 million) than anyone in history—even when you take inflation into account. After all, he pretty much captures the annual money crown playing only half as many tournaments as the typical Tour swinger. In 2006, he won nearly $10 million in just 15 tournaments; Ameri- can Jim Furyk, No. 2 on the money list, won $7.2 mil, but he needed 24 outings to do so. Heading into summer, Woods had banked a bit more than $4 mil this year, pocket change ahead of Mickelson. But Phil teed it up 12 times for those checks; Woods had only played in seven tournaments.
Of course, tournament cash is really Woods’ play money. His financial empire is being built away from any fair- ways, greens, or bunkers. His lucrative endorsement deals with Nike, Buick, American Express, Accenture, and other Fortune 500s already make him the highest-paid athlete ever. Last year, he was the top jock on the Forbes Celebrity 100, with $90 million in earnings. But like the most truly business-minded athletes before him—Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Magic Johnson, and others—Woods isn’t satisfied with mere product-pitching money. He wants to own a stake in the game—or a few. Late last year he formed Tiger Woods Design, a global golf-course design firm that will seek to build courses on unique sites around the world. And earlier this year, after hints that Woods might start his own tour began floating in the wing (as if he doesn’t “own” the Tour already), he made a deal with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem to create a tournament in the nation’s capital that is set to debut this Fourth of July weekend. The
announcement last March prompted some whining from a few Tour pros, who were concerned they might get excluded from the tournament’s limited field (120 players). But the AT&T National will be played at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md., with a $6 million purse. Charitable proceeds from the event will help build the second Tiger Woods Learning Center, in the Washington, D.C., area. (The $25 million, 35,000-square-foot TWLC in Anaheim, Calif., opened in February 2006.) “It’s just another tournament,” Woods said. Uh-huh.
Looking back, we grew used to all things Tiger. Then one day, he was different. He was married—to a stunningly beautiful Swedish former model. He lost his father. And suddenly, so it seemed, he was ripped. No longer gecko-thin, he was a broad- shouldered beast with sculpted fore- arms and lats that seemed ready to burst from the back of his expensive golf shirts. “Pound for pound,” says Keith Kleven, who’s trained Woods throughout his pro career, “I put him with any athlete around.”
Now, through a mixture of a unique weight-training regimen, distance running, and late-blooming genes, Woods is about as fit as any athlete alive, and he’s as physically different today from his early pro years as a sumo wrestler is from Chuck Liddell. When he joined the Tour out of Stanford in 1996, Woods carried only 158 pounds on his 6'2" frame. Today, he weighs between 182 and 185—a gain of nearly 30 pounds.In ’96, his waist measured 29 inches; today, it’s 31.
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