Tiger Woods
Credit: Warren Little / Getty Images

Tiger Woods

According to Forbes' June 2013 list, Woods is the world's highest-paid athlete with annual earnings of around $78 million. Though Woods lost some sponsors (and a lot of money to ex-wife Elin Nordegren) after his chronic infidelity became public knowledge in 2009, he still has several prominent endorsement deals and a steady stream of prize money. Woods' empire wasn't built in a day, but it isn't that hard to pinpoint the moment when he really took off. When Nike released its first 'I am Tiger Woods' advertisement, actually being Tiger Woods became incredibly profitable.

"Golf affords you supreme independence," Woods wrote in his 2001 book, 'How I Play Golf.' which could easily double as a manual for entrepreneurs. "Ultimately, it is you against yourself. It always comes down to how well you know yourself, your ability, your limitations, and the confidence you have in your ability to execute under pressure that is mostly self-created. Ultimately, you must have the heart and head to play a shot and the courage to accept the consequences."

Estimated Net Worth: $590 million