Saturday Ticket: The truth behind the money made off the course

Sympatico’s Saturday Ticket feature is now live. In it I explore just how much money golf pros can see in earnings away from the course:

For Tiger Woods, making $2-million on the course, as he did last year, seems like a disaster. It would barely cover the costs of his private jet, let alone the dollars associated with putting the finishing touches on his new private playground in Jupiter, Florida.

But despair not. According to Golf Digest, Woods made $62-million off the course in endorsement deals last year, that despite still reeling from a high-profile sex scandal that led several companies to drop their connection to the golfer in 2010.

What the article demonstrates is a truism in golf – the money being made by grinding out putts during a PGA Tour tournament is often widely eclipsed by the cash that can be earned through endorsements, sponsorships, corporate outings and other efforts away from the course.

“It all comes down to the player and what he is willing to do,” says Danny Fritz, vice-president and co-managing director of sports marketing giant IMG in Canada. Fritz represents Mike Weir, who has regularly made Golf Digest’s list in the past, largely through endorsement deals with the likes of TaylorMade, Bell Canada and Audi. In 2008, the magazine pegged Weir’s off-course earnings of $4.6-million. Fritz notes that each deal with a sponsor comes with its own unique set of criteria – including appearance days a golfer sets aside to tape commercials for the sponsor through to the placement of the company’s logo. Each element has a value attached to it, from the having the brand logo on the yoke of a shirt through to the player spending a day in Toronto playing golf with clients.

 The rest of the column is here.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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