We all know golf is a unique sport but Scott has put it on its own page with the following comments: “Unlike team sports, where minor leaguers at least have a steady paycheque and a franchise that covers expenses like travel and meals, golf is ruthlessly capitalist. You make what you earn, but it takes money to try to earn it.”
“You need about $75,000 for a season,” says Parr, speaking over the phone from San Francisco. Plane tickets, car rentals, hotels, food: all of it the golfer has to pay out of pocket, and with no promise of money earned at the end of the week. For that, the player has to make the cut. “It can cost 25 grand just to get a caddy to sign on for a year,” Parr says. “And if you miss the cut, you probably just spent two or three grand for that week with nothing coming back. So, yeah, it does take a lot of money.”
Young golfers are usually fronted with money from a mix of sources: small sponsorship deals, often from hometown companies, donations from the community or straight-up investors. A friend of his, Parr says, secured a group of 20 investors who put in $5,000 a year for three years. That gave him $300,000 of seed money, which is great, but that also needs to be paid back. Fewer than 100 players earned more than $55,000 on the Web.com Tour, one step below the PGA, last season, so it’s not like easy riches await.
“Most guys are paying back 80 to 90% of any cheque they get in the first few years,” says Parr.
It really puts into perspective how much pressure is on these guys and why they react the way they do on the golf course.