I can understand how Tiger Woods can be the highest ranking athlete among Forbes' 100 most powerful celebrities but Michelle Wie (74) trumping the number-one female golfer on the LPGA tour? Incredible!
Forbes "used a combination of factors including income, web references as calculated by Google (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ), press clips as compiled by Lexis/Nexis, TV/radio mentions from Factiva and the number of times a celebrity's face has appeared on the cover of 26 major consumer magazines. Earnings estimates are for June 2005 to June 2006 and are dollars earned solely from entertainment income."
Wie's "buzz factor" is high right now coming off a run for a spot in the U.S. Open. Her face is everywhere and when you do a google search of Wie, 4,280,000 results can be found. That isn't counting the variations on the name "Wie". That and the $10 million in endorsements thrown at her before the tender age of 16 makes Michelle something of a phenomenon both inside the ropes of professional golf and in the eyes of the media.
Annika Sorenstam barely made the list (91), even after her venture into LPGA commercials with aging rock superstars and old, leathery "vampires". Her P.R. could use a bit of work although her cover shot on the latest Golf for Women magazine looks terrific! Perhaps her public image IS improving!
Phil Mickelson enters at at respectable 18 on the Forbes list which should make him feel a little less depressed after his recent collapse at Winged Foot.
The number-one most powerful celebrity is not a sports figure but none other than Tom Cruise. Although I try to dislike him, every time I see one of Cruise's movies I see that he is, indeed, a terrific actor. With over 40 million google searches, his weird behavior, controversial ideology and tons of movie credits to his name keep Cruise in the public eye. That's what it's all about anyway. It doesn't matter if it's good press or bad press, just get the attention!!! Right Tom?