Tiger Woods losing grip as sport's top earner

Phil Mickelson is making a run at surpassing fellow golfer Tiger Woods as the top-earning US athlete, according to an annual survey released by Sports Illustrated.

Woods, whose image was tarnished by a sex scandal, was the top earner for the eighth consecutive year but his winnings and endorsements dropped 31 per cent in the 2011 survey to $US62.3 million ($58.9 million) while Mickelson remained steady at $US61.2 million.

Swiss tennis player Roger Federer, owner of a record 16 grand slam titles, led non-Americans on the list and was followed closely by Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao.

Federer kept his top position among non-US athletes despite slipping 14.5 per cent to $US52.8 million, third overall, while WBO welterweight champion Pacquiao shot 38 per cent higher to $US52.5 million for fourth overall.

Spanish Formula One driver Fernando Alonso ($US45 million), Barcelona's Lionel Messi ($US43.8 million) and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo ($38.8 million) rounded out the top five on the international list.

Among Americans, the NBA's LeBron James ($US44.5 million), NFL's Peyton Manning ($US38 million) and Major League Baseball's Alex Rodriguez ($US36 million) rounded out the top five.

The magazine based its figures on salary, winnings, bonuses, endorsements and appearance fees.


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