News alert: Tiger’s winning streak comes to an end

WASHINGTON — Tiger Woods may have held off Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia at Bethpage Black, but he’s no match for Britney Spears.

Woods finished second to the 20-year-old dance-pop sensation in Forbes magazine’s annual ranking of the 100 most powerful celebrities. Twenty-four other athletes made the list, but Michael Jordan is Woods’ only company in the top 10, coming in at No. 9.

Woods also was ranked second last year, finishing behind actor Tom Cruise. Jordan dropped three spots from his No. 6 ranking in 2001.

The rankings are based on earnings, Web hits, press mentions, major magazine cover stories, and TV and radio appearances over the last 12 months. Predictably, money is the biggest factor in the financial magazine’s rankings, but it’s not decisive.

"The power ranking underscores more than just the amount of money a celebrity earns, but the extent to which they capture the public imagination," said Forbes Senior Editor Brett Pulley.

Even though Woods earned $70 million compared to Spears’ paltry $39.2 million, Spears won out by drawing 617,000 more Web hits and gracing seven more magazine covers.

While Woods was edged out in the last round, Pulley sees him topping the list for years to come.

"The amazing thing about Tiger Woods is that he got $62 million this year, but only nine or 10 million of that money came from golf," Pulley said. "At this rate, he’s on track to earn a billion dollars by the time he’s 35."

In addition to a mega-deal with Nike, Woods also locked up endorsement deals with Disney and the Upper Deck trading card company.

"I can’t imagine him going anywhere for a while," Pulley said.

The same may not be said for His Airness, who barely snuck into the top 10 after heading the list in 1999. While Forbes ranks Woods fourth in money earnings, Jordan is listed 28th and he probably would have finished even lower in the overall rankings if not for all the attention garnered by his return to the NBA with the Washington Wizards, Pulley said.

The next highest athlete on the list is Formula One driver Michael Schumacher, who netted $67 million from a two-year deal with Ferrari. Schumacher was at the center of controversy recently when Ferrari ordered another of its drivers to let Schumacher win a race.

Three-time NBA champs Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant come in at Nos. 30 and 31, while Mike Tyson fell from 11th last year to 35th this year. He earned $23 million but most of it went to pay off debts, according to press reports.

Lennox Lewis is ranked three spots behind Tyson in the Forbes power rankings, but he showed his power when he knocked out Tyson on June 8.

Baseball stars Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Sammy Sosa, Manny Ramirez and Ken Griffey Jr. also made the list, and four other NBA players are included — Kevin Garnett, Grant Hill, Scottie Pippen and Alonzo Mourning.

Four of the five tennis players on the list are women, which says something about the lack of star power on the men’s tour right now. Venus Williams and Martina Hingis ranked 60 and 64, respectively.

Cover girl Anna Kournikova finished at No. 67 on the Forbes list — three spots ahead of Jennifer Capriati and five in front of Serena Williams — despite being ranked only 55th in the world by the Women’s Tennis Association.

Kournikova has never won a singles title, but makes up for her mediocre play with plenty of endorsements. Capriati has won three Grand Slam tournaments and Serena Williams has won two, but Kournikova had more than twice as many Web hits as the two combined.

Andre Agassi was the only male tennis player on the list at No. 53. Particularly glaring is the absence of any NFL stars on the list. St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner has won two MVPs in three years but is nowhere to be seen in the Forbes power rankings.

Another quarterback, Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts was ranked No. 60 last year, thanks to an $8.4 million signing bonus.

"Peyton Manning is the NFL’s top endorser," Pulley said, "but in general football players are more anonymous when they’re on the playing field. It probably does take a little bit more" for football players to get good endorsement deals.

Other sports figures on the list are: No. 56 Jeff Gordon, NASCAR driver; No. 65 Arnold Palmer, golfer; and No. 74 Jacques Villeneuve, Formula One driver.

The Forbes Celebrity 100 issue hits the newsstands Monday. The magazine bases its earnings estimates on confidential sources with knowledge of celebrity finances.
© 2002, McClatchy/Tribune Information Services