We all know the top professional golfers make more than they can spend, but how many players can make a comfortable living on a professional golf tour? Let’s assume that a player needs to earn $200,000 dollars to pay all his entry fees, travel, caddie and other expenses to leave enough for a nice living.
Pretty much every PGA Tour player can reach this threshold. Last year the 180th placed player won more than $200,000 and that didn’t include winnings he might have had on the Web.com Tour. The LPGA Tour doesn’t have the television revenues of the PGA Tour and it’s noticeable that only 61 LPGA Tour players reached $200,000 in earnings last year. On the Web.com Tour, 21 players exceeded the threshold.
Players on the top tours also have an opportunity to earn other income with corporate outings and exhibitions. For PGA Tour members, this could be an additional $200,000 per year. Top players also can land major endorsements which could double their income.
Those LPGA and Buy.com tour players near the bottom of the earnings are not raking in the dough. Since they don’t earn a salary, they have to perform or they can get nothing for the week. However, when you become a top player, you can live comfortably for the rest of your life if you manage your money well.
At the top of the earnings lists, 33 PGA Tour players earned more than $2M last year. Only eight LPGA Tour players reached the $1M level. On the Buy.com Tour, 21 players reached $200,000 but they earned their PGA Tour cards and the opportunity for even greater earnings this year.
For 2013, Tiger Woods topped the PGA Tour with $8M if we don’t include Henrik Stenson’s $10M bonus from the Fed Ex Cup. Even with three majors, LPGA player Inbee Park earned only $2.4M. Chesson Hadley was tops on the Buy.com Tour with $535K. Park barely out-earned Champions Tour player Bernhard Langer, but the Champions Tour had 17 players topping $1M.