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The full story behind Tiger Wood's $25 million superyacht

Magomed Khamatkhanov
June 7, 2018

The world's most famous and successful golf player, Tiger Woods has won nearly all existing competitions in a sport where has achieved god-like status, building a $740 million net worth in the process. In yachting, however, Woods is known as the owner of the 47-meter yacht, Privacy, which he had built back in 2004, still owning it to this day.

Woods had Privacy built by Christensen Yachts in Seattle, taking delivery of it as a present for his now ex-wife in 2004. According to the WSJ, the pro golfer spent near $20 million building the yacht at the American shipyard. 

The yacht was the first in the shipyard's advanced production programme, which had Christensen build 157ft yachts on speculation, with the goal of selling them to owners with reduced delivery times. Following the subprime crisis, this practice was retired, prior, however, buyers would pay up to 20% premiums for faster delivery times. 

Such a yachts at 60% completion still allow for owners to customise the interior whilst benefiting from delivery times under a year, which is how Woods bought Privacy according to mainstream media.

Ironically, following the delivery of Privacy, Christensen was reportedly using Wood's name to advertise its business and attract new customers, at least, according to Wood's lawyers who filled a lawsuit in 2005 against the shipyard. In 2006, the suit was settled out of court with Woods walking away with over $1 million according to the WSJ.

Earlier this month, the yacht was spotted near Gurney's Montauk Yacht Club, with the New York Post suggesting that Woods lived onboard whilst playing in the US Open. With a crew of 9, Privacy would take near $2 million per year to run according to brokers polled by the WSJ, a typical figure for yachts of this size.

Accommodating up to 10 guests in five cabins, which includes one, full-beam master suite on the main deck, Privacy features two large living rooms, one on the main deck and a sky lounge on the upper deck. On top of the yacht is a sundeck fitted with sunbathing loungers.

Amidst the recession in 2011, Woods tried selling the yacht, putting it on the market with a price tag of $25 million. Priced above market according to many brokers, the yacht, however, failed to sell and was pulled off the market. 

"The market on big yachts has gone down." commented superyacht owner, John Staluppi in 2011. "Banks aren't financing and the economy is off. It's a buyer's market. Unless he sells to someone who wants to brag that he's got Tiger's yacht, he'll get about $20 million."

Founded in 1983, Christensen was once one of several thriving yacht shipyards in the United States. Riding up the way of the golden age of yachting in the early 2000s, Christensen started building yachts on speculation in the 50-meter range, for a while, making large profits. 

Eventually, with the market for superyacht construction disappearing for a significant amount of time during the recession, Christensen was strongly affected with an inability to sell through its yachts and ultimately came close to shutting down. The shipyard now appears to be back, delivering two new yachts last year.

50m Christensen / Silver Lining / 2007

Born in 1975, Tiger Woods rapidly rose to stardom in the pro golf circuit. Growing up in California, Woods practiced at the Navy golf course in Los Alamitos along with his father, rapidly developing as a child prodigy, appearing on numerous TV shows as an aspiring golfer. At the age of 8, he won the 9-10 boy's event of the Junior World Golf Championships.

Becoming the youngest-ever US Junior Amateur champion at age 15, Woods was recruited by Stanford under a golf scholarship, eventually dropping out two years later to start his pro career at 20 years old. Almost immediately, Woods signed advertising deals with Nike, which were ranked as the most lucrative deals in golf at the time.

Rapidly racking up wins, Woods became the youngest player to achieve a career Grand Slam at just 24. That year, Woods won 9 of the 20 PGA tour events, grasping the title of the best living golf player. After a tough period in the late 2000s, recovering from a knee injury, Woods eventually returned to game dominance, topping the world rankings again in 2013.

Through his golf performance, Woods earned over $1.4 billion in prize money, endorsements and fees over the course of his career. This is the highest figure any sports athlete ever earned in all of sports, and even outdid Michael Jordan's $1.2 billion. At the top of his game in the early 2000s, Woods was pocketing $100 million per year alone and was the highest paid athlete in the world for 11 years running.

iStock / Czgur

Apart from strong endorsement deals and a stellar tournament record, Tiger Woods made millions from golf course design fees in the past years. His first US-based golf course opened in August 2015 in Houston, with one opened in Mexico prior to that. Other projects included a golf course in Dubai.

The largest physical asset that Woods owns, according to Forbes, is his $60 million, 10-acre property in Jupiter Island, which he purchased in 2007. On top of this, Woods has an estimated $20 million in deferred earnings in what has been called a PGA pension plan that is tied to PGA's performance as a whole.

On top of his real estate, earnings and yacht, Tiger Woods also owns a private jet. His Gulfstream G550, which is estimated to have cost around $54 million to build, can fly up to 18 people for as long as 7,500 miles. One of the highest earning athletes in the world at the moment, Woods is well on his way to becoming a billionaire according to Forbes.

Photos by Christensen and G. Frisius