Woods is world's highest-paid athlete with $97.6 million Golfer leads rankings for third straight year July 29, 2006 Tiger Woods, who won his 11th major golf title at the British Open this month, tops the list of Sports Illustrated magazine's top-earning athletes for the third straight year. Woods earned more than $97.6 million in 2005, the magazine reported on its Web site. The world's top-ranked golfer made over $10.6 million in on-course earnings and another $87 million in endorsements with companies such as Nike Inc., the American Express Co. and General Motors Corp.'s Buick Division. The earning figures include salary, bonuses, winnings, endorsement money and appearance fees. Woods headed last year's list at $86.4 million. Golfer Phil Mickelson is second among U.S. athletes on the magazine's list at more than $45.9 million, followed by basketball players Shaquille O'Neal ($34 million) and Kobe Bryant ($33.7 million) and pro football quarterback Carson Palmer ($31.6 million). Rounding out the top 10 of American athletes are basketball's LeBron James ($28.6 million), baseball teammates Derek Jeter ($28 million) and Alex Rodriguez ($27 million), stock car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($25.8) million and football quarterback Michael Vick ($25.4 million). Formula One race car drive Michael Schumacher tops the list of international athletes with a total of $80 million, followed by Italian motorcycle racer Valentino Rossi ($30 million), Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho (29.1 million), Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova ($25.4 million) and English soccer player David Beckham ($23 million). -------------------------------- Surprised to see a motorcycle racer earning that much. I didn't think it was that lucrative a sport.