PGA TOUR Players – Athlete Entrepreneurs

The players on the PGA TOUR have no team plane, no team hotel & no front office to make their travel plans. They do it all themselves. They pay their own expenses. Most fly commercial and they usually fly coach.

If you only looked at the largest contracts in major sports you could see how some people could conclude that most professional athletes are highly paid people. Indeed, the very top players in the NFL, NBA, NHL and ML Baseball make lots of money.  But the average PGA TOUR professional doesn’t have it that good. Let me explain.

2013 Byron Nelson Championship Final RoundIn 2013 156 players entered the HP Byron Nelson Championship. Out of this starting field 81 players made the cut. This means 75 players earned no pay. The other 81 players split the purse of $ 6,700,000. The winner, Sang-Moon Bae, won $ 1,206,000 and Keegan Bradley, who slipped a bit on the final nine and finished second, went home with $723,600. For this discussion let’s talk about the guys in the middle?

The players finishing in the middle of the pack (T-43rd) each received $22,110.  This is their gross income for the week.  What were their expenses?  Here is an estimate:

  • Caddy => $1,000 to $1,500 plus a % of his winnings (deals vary widely)
  • Hotel expenses for the week => $1,000 to $ 1,500.
  • Airfare => $750 to $1,000
  • Evening meals => $300 to $500
  • Additional expenses they may pay for.  (mental coach, swing coach, physical therapist)
  • Federal income taxes
  • State income taxes, where applicable.

Remember this is when he makes a cut and gets a check.  If he misses the cut he gets nothing but he still has expenses.

The good rule of thumb, according to the TOUR veterans, is expenses and taxes eat up 70% of gross winnings. In the 2013 season the player who finished 125 on the Money List earned $ 610,178 in winnings. Using the veterans’ rule of thumb this player took home about $ 183,053 to pay for his family expenses. Certainly a nice living but not like the NFL or NBA guys.

Remember most of these players have wives and children at home with mortgages, car payments, school tuition, property taxes, insurance expenses, food, gasoline etc. just like me and you.


Tim Gamso
Salesmanship Club of Dallas