Forbes: Tiger Woods top sports name

Updated: May 18, 2011, 6:33 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Tiger Woods has not finished a tournament atop the leaderboard in 18 months. Nonetheless, Forbes says the world's former No. 1 golfer remains the biggest celebrity in the sports world.

Woods is No. 6 on Forbes' annual "Celebrity 100" compilation of the most powerful people or groups in the entertainment business, the highest rank of any of the 19 athletes who made the list.

Miami Heat star LeBron James is 10th, up 18 spots from a year ago, and the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant was at No. 14 for the second straight year.

Lady Gaga tops Forbes' overall rankings, followed by Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber, U2 and Elton John.

Forbes said its formula includes pretax income for the year ending May 1, media visibility and social media power through Facebook and Twitter.

Woods will drop to at least No. 11 in the next world ranking, to be published Monday. It will be the first time he is out of the top 10 since he was No. 13 on April 6, 1997, the week before he won the Masters for the first of his 14 majors.

His star power apparently remains nearly as bright as ever, though.

Woods was No. 5 on Forbes' list in 2010, when the magazine estimated his annual earnings at $105 million. His estimated earnings for the past 12 months total $75 million.

Even after taking major endorsement hits following the scandal that ended his marriage, Woods still made $22 million more than Bryant in the past year, Forbes said.

Woods won't be able to improve on his golf ranking anytime soon.

He started the year at No. 2 and has been steadily dropping points. Woods, who tied for fourth at the Masters last month, withdrew from The Players Championship last week because of injuries to his left knee and left Achilles. He said on his website Monday that he will try to return for U.S. Open June 16-19.

"I'll do whatever is necessary to play in the U.S. Open, and I'm hopeful I can be there to compete," he said.

Woods has been atop the world ranking for 623 weeks in his career, by far the longest of any golfer since the ranking began in 1986. He had been No. 1 from June 2005 until Lee Westwood of England supplanted him last November.

Since revelations of adultery emerged Thanksgiving night in 2009, Woods has seriously contended in only one tournament -- he lost in a playoff at the Chevron World Challenge in December after losing a four-shot lead in the final round. He has been in the top five in only four other tournaments.

Forbes listed James' earnings at $48 million, up $5 million from the previous year, and ranked him No. 2 behind only Winfrey in terms of media visibility.

Tennis star Roger Federer was 25th on the list, placing him fourth among athletes.

The Heat had two of the top 100, with Dwyane Wade (No. 57) joining James. And the New York Yankees also had two entries, with Alex Rodriguez at No. 49 and Derek Jeter at No. 69, tying him with actress Julia Roberts.

Other sports figures on the list: David Beckham and Phil Mickelson (tied at No. 35); Cristiano Ronaldo (No. 43); Rafael Nadal (No. 46); Tom Brady (No. 55); Dwight Howard (No. 59); Lionel Messi (No. 62); Peyton Manning (No. 72); Maria Sharapova (No. 80); Serena Williams (No. 84); Venus Williams (No. 86); and Danica Patrick (No. 96).

Combined, Forbes said the 19 athletes on the list this year earned a combined $647 million.

Among those from the sports world who were ranked in 2010 but fell off the most recent Forbes celebrity list were Michael Jordan (20th in 2010); Floyd Mayweather (31st); Shaquille O'Neal (52nd); Manny Pacquiao (55th); and Lance Armstrong (65th).

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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