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Bryson reveals the cut-off point on money list where players make an annual loss on Tour

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With the prize money on the PGA Tour rising all the time, the world’s best take home more money than ever, but you may be surprised by just how thin a line it is from being comfortable to making an annual loss.

Speaking on the Full Send podcast this week, Bryson DeChambeau revealed that any player outside of the top 165 on the Tour’s money list is losing money every year.

Asked to breakdown why that is, Bryson explained how as independent contractors, life is very costly on Tour:

“We’re independent contractors. We’ve got to pay for all of our expenses—every hotel we have to pay on our own, food etc. You do everything yourself. And you’ve got a family to feed. And you’re missing cuts. And when you miss a cut, you make nothing. 

You think it’s great (on Tour), but once you start getting into the nitty-gritty and it’s your livelihood, it’s a very interesting scenario.”

Bryson added that players in the top-125 in the money list are having “a great life”, but that he feels “so bad” for the guys 165 and up, and those also on the Korn Ferry Tour.

The 28-year-old admitted that it “depressed” him when he missed his opening 14 cuts on Tour but that he was fortunate to have sponsors and explained what the gruelling process is for players struggling to find their best stuff on Tour.

“When you go an do these three-week stints, and you miss all three cuts, and you’re grinding Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and you go Thursday and Friday and miss the cut, and you got the weekend off, but you’re still grinding Saturday, Sunday because you’ve got to get good for the next week. And you still can’t find your game, and you’re still not doing well because there are so many players that are way better than you, and you’re still missing cuts.”

To put Bryson’s statement into context, the 166th player on the 2020 PGA Tour money list made $486,337 in earnings, which shows that, if accurate, earning half a million dollars on Tour each year likely only allows a player to break even.

You can check out the entire episode of Bryson on the Full Send pod here.

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Gianni is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @giannimosquito

37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. EastpointeCC

    Oct 23, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    If this were 100% accurate then there wouldn’t be a champions tour or an LPGA tour. Their prize pools are a fraction of the PGA tour. The LPGA get basically 0 sponsor dollars as compared to PGA.

  2. CJ5

    Oct 15, 2021 at 10:20 am

    Max Homa addressed this on the NLU podcast this week and he agreed that it is very expensive, but that the break even point can be less than $400k and was in his case as he was coming up. That said, it is a lot of money to make it on tour.

  3. Michael McGee

    Oct 13, 2021 at 3:20 pm

    I used to live in the same neighborhood as a PGA pro, he’s in the top 100 on the money list, and he mentioned how fast all the money goes having to stay at your best, and how he really felt the pressure when he wasn’t making the cuts because it was zero income for months if he hit a bad streak, it wasn’t until he made the top 100 that he felt comfortable with his wife taking a break from working. I find it comical that all of you that think they can just cut out the support staff that helped get them to get to the PGA tour, the whole game is about getting that edge to move up, they aren’t going to say peace to their coach and anyone else that keeps them going.

    • Jack

      Oct 14, 2021 at 10:14 pm

      If anything, they need even more support once they make it to stay there. People don’t understand the amount of commitment and talent it takes to make it. This is no regular job. Being average (or even below average in many jobs which doesn’t mean you’ll get fired) doesn’t cut it.

  4. jgpl001

    Oct 13, 2021 at 6:01 am

    Good to see him point this out, the reality is lost on most people.
    About 20 years ago I was at a European Tour event with my father and we were staying in a B&B for the week. By chance we met one of the players at breakfast one morning and we ended up bringing him and his caddy to the course and back for the week. He told me he was a 4th place reserve and borrowed the plane fare and accommodation money from his sister. We stopped every morning at the local shop so the caddy could buy packet sandwiches, chocolate bars and cans of coke….
    He didn’t have any club sponsorship and I remember discussing with my father how much better my bag was compared to his…
    Delightfully he made the cut and about 10 years later he became a PGA Tour winner and had a decent US career.
    I will never forget that week and what its really like on the outer edges of the tour and I really admire the struggle and the sacrifices of these guys
    PS – ALL pro’s on ALL tours should at least have OEM club sponsorship, it wouldn’t hurt any OEM one bit

  5. Jerry

    Oct 9, 2021 at 11:27 am

    I am glad Bryson is pointing this out. The powers that be need to spread the wealth around more. I am not sure what the big wigs at the PGA make but the NFL top honchos make insane money. I bet the NBA and MLB are the same. This money for players doing social media could have been also shared with Korn Kerry and other feeder tour.

    My friend is one a feeder tour and he is starving. He may have to go back making minimum wage folding shirts in the pro shop. Sad.

    • Ken McMurray

      Oct 10, 2021 at 4:51 pm

      As with all professional leagues, the top guys that actually are the crowd drawing force are under paid, the journeymen are vastly over paid…

    • DB

      Oct 21, 2021 at 1:56 pm

      Completely agree. Since the PGA Tour is a “Non-profit” LOL, they had to release their staff pay a few years ago. It was obscene.

  6. Joseph

    Oct 8, 2021 at 8:18 pm

    when i was a teen in the late ‘60s, the leading money would earn about $100k. Outside of top 8-10, not making money under $50k. What isn’t mentioned in this interview is sponsorships, appearances, which many of the top 200 earn in hundreds of thousands. Plus there were no courtesy cars, free hotels or netjets deals in the olden days. Gene Littler once told me he would get $25 (not k!) per tournament in that era to wear an Amana hat. He made a whole hundy if he won.

    • LongJohnPeter

      Oct 10, 2021 at 5:59 pm

      I guess you missed the part where he explains they have to pay for their own transportation and hotels, but whatever…

    • Tyler Durden

      Oct 12, 2021 at 9:57 pm

      You know 100k in 1965 is about 860k today right?

  7. Hunter Warne

    Oct 8, 2021 at 10:41 am

    This seems spot on. Take out roughly 50% for taxes. Then you have transportation, caddie fees, food and other expenses. Plus most of those guys have a house and expenses at home as well. You could cut corners and save some money, but it’s not the glamourous life the guys inside the top 100 are living.

    • David T

      Oct 8, 2021 at 12:41 pm

      Expenses are tax deductible

      • JT

        Oct 8, 2021 at 2:09 pm

        Yeah I was like S this ain’t France.. yet..

      • Jeff

        Oct 10, 2021 at 7:48 pm

        I don’t think most people understand what it means to be tax deductible. You only get the tax you paid refunded it’s not like the government is giving them their entire travel expenses back.

        • CC

          Oct 12, 2021 at 1:33 am

          I don’t think you understand what it means to be tax deductible. You get to subtract allowable expenses from your total taxable income to get to adjustable gross income. That’s where most tax credits come into play. It’s also the amount that you pay taxes on.

  8. Troy

    Oct 8, 2021 at 10:32 am

    So earning $486 means the 166th ranked tour pro and his family are burning through $9,346 per week? Seems like perhaps poor money management is more of an issue than poor golf!

    • Troy

      Oct 8, 2021 at 10:33 am

      Obviously, I meant $486k not just $486.00!

    • Chris Cortez

      Oct 8, 2021 at 1:02 pm

      Hardly. Means that $486k has to pay for taxes, multiple employees, all travel and lodging, food on the road, and a salary (or something) for the player to support themselves and their family.

      $486k sounds like a lot of individual income. Doesn’t sound like a lot of small business income, which is what a pro golfer is.

      Also remember: you also have to pay state taxes anywhere you earn money. Win in Texas, not California!

      • JT

        Oct 8, 2021 at 2:11 pm

        You have to spend a significant amount of time in that state.. CA HI would be problematic w so many key events, TX FL not so much w no state income tax

        • Mo

          Oct 8, 2021 at 10:07 pm

          You have to pay income tax in each state that you make money in. True for all athletes.

  9. ski_co

    Oct 8, 2021 at 10:05 am

    Skip the Four Seasons and stay at Motel 6 – no Ruth’s Chris – Mickey D

  10. Shane Quimby

    Oct 8, 2021 at 9:54 am

    Where is the evidence for this statement? Bryson is a bloward who makes statements with no basis in fact (and he has a garbage understanding of the physics he claims to know), and people print it and believe it. He has no idea what the guys on the bottom of the list pay for travel, etc. If you are not making much money, you spend less because you are cautious. That’s how life works. This site can’t possilby need the clicks enough to print this nonsense.

    • Milo

      Oct 8, 2021 at 10:01 am

      Too much hookers and blow.

    • Erock

      Oct 8, 2021 at 10:24 am

      Yea let’s trust a rube who hasn’t touched the PGA Tour vs someone who has been successful and is still on Tour. Shutup loser.

    • Brent

      Oct 8, 2021 at 5:14 pm

      “no basis in fact” Says the numbskull who is at his keyboard and can’t break 110, about a guy who has literally been on tour for years. Stay in your lane genius.

      • Momo

        Oct 8, 2021 at 7:29 pm

        He’s right though. Bryson regularly speaks out his rear side to sound smart. Mr. Academic probation is a wannabe smart guy. It’s pathetic.

    • Robin

      Oct 8, 2021 at 7:38 pm

      Right off the top, you’ve got minimum 10% to your management team (agent, cpa, etc.),6-10% to your caddie, swing coaches generally get 5%, 30-45% to the tax man and the expenses of traveling 35 weeks a year, including international travel and $468k disappears very quickly. It’s not about Bryson, it’s just math.

      • Keanu

        Oct 8, 2021 at 8:57 pm

        People ranked at top end of pga tour don’t need an agent, everyone needs a cpa. Your on the pga tour, don’t need a swing coach 4 days a week and you don’t have to give them 5% lol unless you are a top player working with someone like Butch and have them on speed dial to fly and see you. You don’t pay income tax in many states, that’s why most live in Florida. Everyone has to pay for food, many people get takeout everyday. Many get RV’s so they don’t have to stay on holiday inn express many weeks. They aren’t living rough on $468,000 a year, I can tell you that.

        • You’re Dumb

          Oct 8, 2021 at 9:52 pm

          How stupid are you to think that top PGA players don’t have or need agents? Who exactly do you think is negotiating all of their sponsorship deals? Majority of agencies do all of the accommodation bookings for the players as well.

          • Marty

            Oct 8, 2021 at 10:15 pm

            Guys that are higher up on the tour don’t needs agents that much. You don’t have them on pay roll by any means, your thinking of Tiger woods and Bryson level players who can afford and require that type of support

          • Marty

            Oct 8, 2021 at 10:19 pm

            Those unknown players ranked higher up don’t need agents that much for sponsorship deals etc.,your thinking of Tiger woods and Bryson type players.

          • Marty

            Oct 8, 2021 at 10:23 pm

            Top players he probably means those ranked higher up like 150, those players do not need an agent that much for sponsorship deals etc. You’re thinking of players like Tiger and Bryson

            • Jack

              Oct 8, 2021 at 10:30 pm

              Not to mention, agents used for sponsorship deals are making the player more money, Ha

    • MG

      Oct 8, 2021 at 7:49 pm

      Where did Bryson hurt you?

    • Tyler Durden

      Oct 12, 2021 at 10:04 pm

      Wow, some idiot on the internet knows more than DeChambeau who actually has done what he’s talking about.

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19th Hole

Over 20,000 pieces of counterfeit golf equipment seized in China

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The U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group (The Golf Group) announced this week that six raids of counterfeit golf product facilities were conducted last month in China, with the latest seizing over 20k pieces of goods. The organization was aided by Shanghai Police who detained seven suspects during the raids.

A total of 21,281 pieces of counterfeit golf equipment was seized as well as 51,904 fake trademark labels including XXIO, Titleist, Scotty Cameron, TaylorMade, PXG, Callaway, and Ping.

The Golf Group

Manufacturing and distribution of counterfeit golf equipment has become a serious problem in China, as more than 2 million counterfeit products has been seized by The Golf Group since 2004.

The Golf Group

The group has been adamant about trying to maintain the integrity of the game and has made it clear that any counterfeiters of golf equipment will face severe legal consequences.

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Paul Casey’s caddie John McLaren to take break due to mental health reasons

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As first reported by the PGA Tour’s Ben Everill,Paul Casey’s caddie, John McLaren is taking an indefinite mental health break from the game of golf.

The 55-year old long time caddie has been traveling across the world with Luke Donald, Tony Johnstone and Paul Casey over the course of the past 31 years.

The last 18 months have been particularly difficult for McLaren who has had a hard time constantly traveling to many different countries during the COVID-19 pandemic:

“The accumulation of the last 18 months of travel, the testing, the uncertainty has taken its toll, not only on me, but how I am at home with my family,” he told PGATour.com. “And once that starts to have an impact on my young children and my wife, whom I very much love, then the questions start to arise about the sacrifices relative to what needs to be gained.”

Paul Casey expressed approval of McLaren’s decision, acknowledging the bravery it takes to speak out about those struggling with mental health.

He also emphasized that this isn’t a retirement, and he expects “Johnny Long Socks” to be back on his bag at some point in the future.

 

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19th Hole

7 golf books to read this winter

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We hope you find this list valuable, GolfWRXers! All products were independently selected by GolfWRX staff. We may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publication or ready to pre-order!

1. Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf by Ben Hogan

Description: “A timeless classic with nearly one million copies in print, Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons outlines the building blocks of winning golf from one of the all-time masters of the sport—fully illustrated with drawings and diagrams to improve your game instantly.”

Get it from Amazon for $7.21

2. Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect by Dr Bob Rotella

Notable review: “This is the bible for golfers who want to learn to have a better mindset when playing and practicing the game. If you find yourself getting worked up during a round of golf, or feel like your game is stagnating, this book can help get your mind right. Well-written and straightforward I recommend this book to anyone who takes the game seriously (maybe too seriously). I learned that the way to improving my game was not in perfecting the golf swing but in improving my thinking and emotions on the course.”

Get it from Amazon for $12.76

3. Make Your Next Shot Your Best Shot: The Secret to Playing Great Golf by Dr Bob Rotella

Description: “In Make Your Next Shot Your Best Shot, Rotella’s message is simple but effective: to reach your greatest potential in golf, you need to set your sights high and always think positively. He wants you to aim for something incredible: free your mind, concentrate on your process, accept whatever happens, and commit to making your next shot your best shot. Rotella shows you how to focus your mind, create a routine for success, persevere, and overcome failure.”

Get it from Amazon for $23.34

4. A Course Called America: Fifty States, Five Thousand Fairways, and the Search for the Great American Golf Course by Tom Coyne

Notable review: “Tom Coyne has delivered another fantastic read with “A Course Called America”. With his easy flowing style and vivid descriptions he brings you along on another amazing adventure, but this is more than just a golf book. It’s about people and priorities and remembering what’s important in life. If you haven’t read anything of his before, start with this book and you will quickly want to read A Course Called Ireland and Scotland.”

Get it from Amazon for $20.49

5. Up and Down: Victories and Struggles in the Course of Life by Bubba Watson

Description: “He was a small-town boy who burst onto the international golf scene with a dramatic hook shot from deep in the woods to win the Masters— before the game he loved almost killed him. Opening up about the toll that chasing and achieving his dream of being a champion golfer took on his mental health, Bubba Watson shares his powerful story of the breaking point that gave him clarity.”

Get it from Amazon for $23.99

6. The Story of The Masters: Drama, joy and heartbreak at golf’s most iconic tournament by David Barrett

Notable review: “This book made me feel as though I were outside the ropes at every Masters through the decades. Barrett’s deep research and deft writing does what no other book on the Masters has done–provide a year-by-year narrative of the world’s greatest golf tournament. When the Masters comes this April, I’ll have this book at my side to reference all the history and what happened at the time. Highly recommended for all who love the Masters and sports history.”

Get it from Amazon for $21.49

7. The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods by Hank Haney

Description:The Big Miss is Hank Haney’s candid and surprisingly insightful account of his tumultuous six-year journey with Tiger Woods, during which the supremely gifted golfer collected six major championships and rewrote golf history.”

Get it from Amazon for $17.95

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