Big-time bucks: Here’s how much money is made (and paid) by the average Tour pro

October 15, 2018
One top sports agent—a 15-year vet whose clients have included multiple Top 30 players—went under the cover of anonymity to talk about the kind of bank made (and paid) by an average Tour pro.  

PLAYER PROFILE

A Top 125 guy. A pro whose Tour card is a no-doubter; who nails down a win in the occasional year; and who can be counted on each season to make it to—and sometimes through—the Dell Technologies event in the FedEx Cup playoffs. His approximate 2017-18 season prize-money earnings was $2,000,000. But the dough doesn’t stop rolling there. Here’s where the rest of his money comes in each year. His Hat - $250,000–$500,000 “The front of the hat is your No. 1 real estate. On the high end, this deal generally includes other inventory—bag, equipment—as well. If you’re a Top 30 player, you’re definitely making seven figures on this. For a Top 10 guy, you’re looking north of $3 million and getting close to eight figures for the most marketable players in the world. For this deal, a player will be obligated to, on average, commit to giving a company three to four appearance/promotional days per year.” His Logo/Corporate Deal - $50,000–$100,000 “A player who keeps his card should have a minimum of three to five corporate partners. Maybe that’s a chest deal, a sleeve deal, and a collar deal—plus maybe two other name-and-likeness deals that don’t require a logo. A $100K logo deal usually includes two player obligations: a content-generation day—like a commercial shoot—and a day in a golf setting, like a pro-am or clinic. Generally, each name-and-likeness deal brings in $25K-plus, and requires two meet-and-greet appearances at PGA Tour locations. When you see guys with multiple logos on their chest, that’s a dead giveaway that their apparel deal isn’t paying much. The higher-end deals generally don’t allow additional logos unless they’ve been grandfathered in. Adidas and Under Armour usually allow one extra logo on the sleeve.” His Clubs - $100,000 “It used to be, you’d be a full-staff Titleist guy, with a Titleist hat, Titleist on your sleeve, a Titleist golf bag, the ball, the glove. For the normal Top 125 player, what’s happened over the years is the equipment dollars have gone down a bit, and the corporate and clothing dollars have come up. Now what you see more of is, say, a Titleist equipment guy—but he’s got a corporation on the front of his hat, and he wears Puma clothes and shoes. He combines equipment, clothing and corporate dollars.” His Shoes “Shoes can be a stand-alone dollar source, though it’s not very common. They’re usually tied to a clothing deal.” His Ball - $50,000–$100,000 “Typically dominated by Titleist. If you’re on Tour, you can expect to get a ball-shoe-glove deal from Titleist—unless you get a ball deal from someone like Callaway, TaylorMade or Srixon. Or Bridgestone, though they’re not as common because Bridgestone is way more selective.” Incentive Bonuses From one or all of a player’s sponsors... For keeping his Tour card: $10,000–$25,000 For a Tour win: $25,000–$100,000 For making Top 30 in the FedEx Cup final: $100,000  

CASH IN, CASH OUT

No Tour pro gets it done by himself—to wit, Jordan Spieth’s proverbial “we.” All kinds of “team” members line up to say oui when it’s time for their share of a player’s earnings. Here’s where the cheddar goes. Caddie’s Cut: Share of winnings: 6 percent for a made cut; 8 percent for a top 10; 10 percent for a win. Annual average (at 7 percent): $140,000 Weekly travel stipend: $1,500-$3,000 Average annual total: $192,000 Agent’s Cut: 10 to 20 percent of non-tournament earnings. Annual average: $105,000 Accountant’s Cut: Yearly fee of $25-40K, or hourly billing. Annual average: $32,000 Coach’s Cut: 1 to 3 percent of tournament winnings. Annual average: $40,000 Trainer’s Cut: 1 to 3 percent of tournament winnings. Annual average: $40,000 Travel Expenses $3,000–$5,000 per week (non-majors, not international) for hotels/homes, food, flights. Annual average: $130,000 PGA Tour Membership Fees Annual average: $300 Locker Room Attendant/Valet Tips Annual average: $5,000 Disability Insurance Annual average: $10,000 “I’ve never done a policy for one of my guys for less than $1 million,” the agent says. “The Tour has a policy that kicks in after a certain amount of months for a certain amount of time, but those policies are capped financially. Guys generally buy a supplemental policy worth $1-5 million. The agent would be doing his client a disservice if he didn’t encourage this.”  

BALANCE SHEET

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