Tiger Woods’ return to professional golf has had an impact both on and off the golf course as well as in the minds of the hardcore golf fans and those who consider themselves only casual fans of the sport. Perhaps in a harbinger of sorts, golf was among the most well-represented sports in the recently-released ESPN “World Fame 100.”
As far as the biggest sports in America goes, golf’s eight athletes on the list were more than the MLB (0), NHL (0) and NFL (7) combined. Of the Big Four sports in America, golf’s biggest stars were only outflanked by professional football players.
ESPN’s World Fame 100
33 soccer players
13 basketball players
12 tennis players
7 football players
3 swimmers (Sun Yang, Ning Zetao, Fu Yuanhui)
0 baseball/hockey playershttps://t.co/WmG0s6Oel2
— Nick Zaccardi (@nzaccardi) May 22, 2018
The third annual “World Fame 100” was released on Tuesday with Woods and Phil Mickelson cracking the top-10. Woods, the 14-time major champion, ranked highest at No. 6.
The World Fame 100 is named from a pool of 600 worldwide athletes whose search score (a secret Google trend score), estimated endorsement dollars and social media following bore out the 100 most famous athletes in the world.
Despite not completing a full season on the PGA Tour since 2015 (and even that was a truncated 11-event season) Woods debuted on the World Fame 100 at No. 7 in 2016. As his competitive starts fell in 2016 and 2017, he dropped to No. 10 in the 2017 version of the list.
Now, with his health seemingly in good shape and his game rounding into form for the meat of the PGA Tour schedule, Woods is ascending back up the list again despite being one of the oldest athletes on the list.
One athlete Woods is younger than is 47-year-old Phil Mickelson. Lefty ranked 10th on the list in popularity despite featuring a whopping “0” on social media following.
The fact that Mickelson’s search score — 3 — and his social media following are amongst the lowest on the list — he’s one of only two athletes along with Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu to have n0 social media following — further illustrates the magnetism that Mickelson creates not only on the course but in the marketplace.
Rory McIlroy, No. 15, and Jordan Spieth, No.16, are proving to be what golf fans have already known for years: the future of the game. McIlroy enjoys $35 million in endorsements each year, primarily made up by his deals with Nike and TaylorMade while Spieth’s $32 million in endorsements is buoyed by a search score 14 points higher than McIlroy’s.
Other golfers Woods, Mickelson, McIlroy and Spieth include Justin Rose (No. 69), Sergio Garcia (No. 73), Rickie Fowler (No. 87) and Michelle Wie (No. 97).
— ESPN (@espn) May 22, 2018