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How much does money motivate golfers?

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Dick Whitman, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Looking at the Masters earnings today, I noticed that Charl Schwartzel earned a cool $1.4 million for his first-place finish. The second-place finishers earned $700K. Tiger Woods earned $330,000 for his fourth place finish.

    Obviously, $330K isn't a bad payday. And $700K is more than most of us make in about 14-15 years, let alone a nice weekend. Still, that $700K difference between first and second place is huge. I think when we're watching, we get wrapped up in the idea that these guys want to win for the sake of winning. The purity of competition. The chance to cement their legacy.

    How much do you think, in reality, $1.4 million is driving a lot of the pressure they feel out there? And the joy?
  2. holy bull

    holy bull Active Member

    Early in the tournament, maybe on the first day, one of the TV guys made the point that the Americans don't perform as well as the rest of the world does when they're thrown together because the astronomical purses in the U.S. put more of a premium on top-20 finishes than on, you know, actually winning the thing. Looks like the Masters final leaderboard this year supports that theory.
  3. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    It depends who the golfer is.

    Do purses motivate Woods or Mickelson? I doubt it, although they definitely want to win. But there are a lot of golfers out there who drive themselves from event to event and don't have the seven-figure endorsement deals that the top guys have. I'm sure they're very motivated by money and winnings.
  4. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    To qualify for the Masters, a golfer almost HAS to have advanced past the "need that prize check" aspect of his career -- or else they're one of the amateurs. But this week at Hilton Head? You better believe money counts. And it counts in Europe, too. The difference that TV guy was trying to point out is that in Europe, to make big money, you have to win consistently, which is not the case in the U.S.
  5. holy bull

    holy bull Active Member

    It would be ridiculous to suggest that the Americans weren't trying to win, but perhaps the situation as you describe it forces the European Tour guys who show up to be better mentally conditioned to play tournament-winning golf, as opposed to just great golf that gets you a check.
  6. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    In actuality the European Tour's payoffs are less skewed to the winner's advantage than is the PGA Tour's. A PGA Tour winner gets 18% of the purse; a European Tour winner gets on 16.67%. Buncha socialists ... JUST KIDDING!
  7. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I wonder how much it comes into play in situations where the golfer isn't going to win, but if he plays it safe, he'll get a certain amount and how often is he content to play for that amount and won't take the risks that would be necessary to finish higher in the standings, knowing that if he takes the risk and shanks one or gets in the sand or water that he could lose some prize money.

    I'll bet that's a factor a lot with mid-to-lower level pros.
  8. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    I dunno, Mizzou. I've seen reasonably obscure Tour pros take big risks not just to win, but to finish high enough to qualify for the British Open or the Ryder Cup or some other non-monetary reward of their trade.
  9. holy bull

    holy bull Active Member

    How do the PGA and European purses compare? I guess what I'm asking is, how do the second- or third-place loser's share in an average PGA event and the 16.67 percent winner's share in an average European event stack up against each other?

    And wasn't it Chip Beck or somebody who was ripped for laying up at the Masters when he still had an outside chance to win?
  10. qtlaw

    qtlaw Well-Known Member

    The Masters' payout is one of the largest (The Players is the biggest I believe) so I don't think those numbers should be used for every week (plus there is a limited field and less players who make the cut).

    Money does motivate the golfers because they know: (1) nothing is guaranteed from week to week, let alone year to year; (2) the margins between 5-100 is very small; and (3) golfers can fall off the cliff very fast (i.e. Ian Baker-Finch; Duval; Westwood 1.0; Bob May; Adam Scott 1.0).
  11. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Isn't there also a rule that golfers, in order to keep their Tour cards, have to finish in the top 100 or so in the money leaders?
  12. DC_Reeves

    DC_Reeves Member

    It's top 125 to keep your card for the next year, but there are all sorts of other exemptions (2 years for winning a regular tour event, either 5 or 10 years for winning the TPC, etc.). And if you've won on tour before, as a past champion, you could almost play a full tour schedule - you can't handpick your events, if you're willing to play anytime, anywhere, you could still be in pretty good shape.

    About the money, one small thing that's overlooked sometimes is the cost of getting around for a full season. Don't get me wrong, they're making great money anyway, but I'd be willing to bet the cost of just being on tour for a season is well into the six figures. Hotels, coaches, jets, beers at the '19th Hole', etc.

    Needless to say I'd still trade places.
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