When you consider the cost of a PGA Tour membership fee (~$200 annually) is pretty much on par with a mini Tour event entry fee ($300+/week), one can clearly see that sponsors are footing the bill on the big stages.
Thank you sponsors, literally.
Not only are these generous, capitalistic entities ponying up large (oversized) cheques for event purses, they are also an ever-growing, directly visible presence on the players themselves.
If you are a player deemed worthy of sponsoring to augment your on-course earnings, consider the following prime real estate on a player’s body (with the caveat, of course, that some bodies are more prime than others):
- Hats (front, back, side, brim) - $75K+
- Shirts (chest, collar, sleeves, back) - $10K - $1M+
- Bags (zippered side, bottom) - $75K+
Visibility is key.
Think of all the televised downtime between shots for players and precisely where viewer’s eyeballs are drawn.
As a player improves and becomes more consistent, those non-tournament earnings can be drastically enhanced via sponsor’s incentives:
- Keeping a Tour card: $10,000–$25,000
- A Tour win: $25,000–$100,000
- Making the FedEx Cup Finals: $100,000
We asked earlier why somebody would punish themselves on golf’s mini Tours? Well, look at the breakdown of an average top 125 player who wins “once in a while” and you will see:
- Average total Tour earnings: $2,000,000
- Average total non-tournament earnings: $700,000
- Average total outlay: $554,000
- Average net profit (before taxes): $2,146,000
- Charles Howell III - $40,000,000+ in career earnings (3 wins)
Now you see why perhaps the biggest loss in a PGA player’s year isn’t missing out on a top finish one week, but dropping out of the very lucrative top 125 fully exempt list altogether.
That feels like a rapid return to $300+ entry fees and dodgy $3 hot dogs for lunch, and we’re sure that Chucky Three Sticks isn’t buying.