Woods, 37, had a very public fall due to personal scandal that affected his golf game and attractiveness to sponsors. It also caused him to slip from the top of the Forbes' list last year, a position he occupied from 2001 to 2012.
However, a resurgence on the golf course has returned him to No. 1 in the men's world golf rankings and the Forbes' list. The magazine estimates Woods, who has won $13.1 million on the course in the last 12 months, all told was paid $78.1 million.
That includes prize money, endorsements, appearance fees and golf course design. About a quarter of that figure comes from an endorsement agreement with Nike.
Tennis player Roger Federer, who received $14 million for six exhibitions in South America last December, is second on the list with about $71.5 million in earnings. The NBA's Kobe Bryant ($61.9 million) is third and LeBron James ($59.8 million) comes in fourth. NFL quarterback Drew Brees took in $51 million for the No. 5 spot. All four, like Woods, have endorsement agreements with Nike.
The rest of the Top 10: No. 6 Aaron Rodgers (football), $49 million; No. 7 Phil Mickelson (golf), $48.7 million; No. 8 David Beckham (soccer), $47.2 million; No. 9 Cristiano Ronaldo, soccer ($44 million); No. 10 Lionel Messi (soccer) $41.3 million.
Alex Rodriguez, at $30.3 million and 18th on the list, is the highest paid baseball player and No. 22 Maria Sharapova, with earnings of $29 million, is the highest listed woman. Samuel Eto'o, a soccer player from Cameroon, comes in at No. 100 with compensation of $16.4 million.