Should Pro Golfers Quit Complaining?
As I’ve read and listened to golfers, both young and old, gripe about professional golf, I’ve kept a deliberate silence.
Or, to put it another way, how they are responsible for their own food, trainers, and travel expenses, to name a few. This is typically followed by how professional sportsmen in other sports do not have to pay for the same fees.
In listening to the players blather on, I felt increasingly bewildered. So, I decided to investigate other sports to discover how bright things really are.
Take Major League Baseball, for example. The Atlanta Braves, like 27 of the 30 clubs, began their season in spring training on February 28. They completed it on November 2 in Game 6 of the World Series.
That’s more than eight months of Grapefruit League play. Which is then followed by a 162-game regular season and 16 playoff games for a total of 192 games.
That same PGA Tour player averaged $4,232,406 in 2021 while the average salary of the MLB player was $4.17 million. Both have pensions, but the PGA Tour pension is by far the best in sports.
Then of course there is that FedEx Cup money, which pays out to the top 150 players. Those in 126th to 150th make $70,000 and they don’t even compete in the playoffs.
By the way, when you listen to players saying they want food, lodging and trainer money, I think $70,000 goes a long way.
When appearance fees, sponsorship deals, and other bonus schemes are factored in, the PGA Tour player has a significant advantage. But this is only a snapshot of one year.
Other Things to Consider
The lifespan of major sports leagues and professional golf is something that the PGA Tour player does not consider.
The average length of a player’s career in the four major sports is 3.3 in the NFL, 4.5 years in the NBA, five in the NHL and 5.6 in MLB.
Charles Howell III, 42, (who has not complained) started his professional career in 2000, winning only three times, but he has played in 595 events and earned over $41 million. If you add in his playoff money, which is likely over $1 million, it’s hard to sympathize with a guy that must pay for his own dinner on the road, but does he?
Plenty of Perks
Most players take full advantage of the facilities at the different events, eating at least two of their meals on site and I’ve seen enough players waking out with a shoe bag full of ice and a six-pack of beer.
Dry cleaning and courtesy cars are additional perks of being a PGA Tour professional.
Of course, there is the PGA Tour Champions for the over-50 players. The best make a very good living, playing 54 holes in most tournaments except for the five majors.
Bernhard Langer earned $31.9 million on the senior tour in his career. Next is Hale Irwin at $27.1 million. He is followed by Gil Morgan at $20.6 million and Jay Haas at $19.5 million.
In fact, Larry Mize who sits at 100th on the career senior money list, has tallied $5.1 million in his career.
This does not include the fact that a whole separate retirement program exists for the PGA Tour Champions. Then there’s the Charles Schwab Cup bonus program, which is not as lucrative as the FedEx Cup. However, it’s nothing to sneeze at with the winner receiving $1 million out of a $2.1 million bonus pool for the top five.
Of course, the biggest perk is being your own boss. No one controls you. You do what you want when you want. The only variable is how well you play, which determines how much money you make both on and off the course.
So, when I hear players complain about not getting lunch money, it makes me want to scream, “Grow up!”
Read the original article on Sports Illustrated.