Show Me The Money!

Golf Digest has a very interesting article that headlines their website, “The Golf Digest 50: The top earners in golf, on and off the course.”

In a 50-picture pictorial, they detail tournament winnings and outside income to include endorsement income and income from businesses such as course design, club manufacturing, golf schools, etc. How they got the data is just as interesting:

Figures for the list were compiled through Golf Digest interviews with agents, players, executives of companies involved with endorsements, industry analysts and through the official money lists of the professional tours.

So, being an old finance guy (even though I’m much better at writing), I threw all the data into an Excel spreadsheet and here’s what came out of the clutter of 50 individual entries:

These 50 people had a grand total of:

$187 million in tournament income

$398 million in outside income

$585 million in total income

Not bad for a bunch of jocks. Why this is of interest to those of us interested in mastery is that this is the cream of the crop as measured in financial terms. As you scroll through the pictures, take a moment or two to really study the face of each player. Look for the total self-expression, the total absorption, the total joy. This is what mastery looks like on the surface; a periscope from the soul.

Here are the averages:

$  7.3 million in tournament income

$15.6 million in outside income

$23.0 million in total income

But the big guns skew the data. So here are the medians:

$3.5 million in tournament income

$4.0 million in outside income

$8.1 million in total income

Who are the big guns? In terms of total income:

  1. Tiger Woods               $74.3 million
  2. Phil Mickelson            $40.2 million
  3. Arnold Palmer            $36.0 million
  4. Greg Norman              $30.0 million
  5. Jack Nicklaus               $25.2 million

And how’d they get there? By dominating in outside income:

  1. Tiger Woods               $72 million
  2. Phil Mickelson            $36 million
  3. Arnold Palmer            $36 million
  4. Greg Norman              $30 million
  5. Jack Nicklaus               $25 million

And the runners up in outside income at least deserve honorable mention:

  1. Gary Player                 $15.0 million
  2. Ernie Els                      $14.0 million
  3. Sergio Garcia              $10.5 million
  4. Padraig Harrington      $8.3 million
  5. Davis Love                    $7.5 million (tied by Nick Faldo)

But the tables turn when it comes to tournament income. These are skewed because of Jim Furyk’s enormous, $10 million FedEx Cup bonus. I also find it interesting, just off the top of my head, that for all the conversation about Luke Donald’s failed promise, he’s number 3 on the list:

  1. Jim Furyk                    $16.3 million
  2. Lee Westwood           $  9.2 million
  3. Luke Donald               $  8.3 million
  4. Matt Kuchar               $  8.2 million
  5. Graeme McDowell     $  7.7 million

And finally, the ladies. Annika grabbed the 39th spot despite no tournament income, Paula Creamer the 41st and Michelle Wie the 50th despite limited tournament play due to injuries they had. All three did well in outside income with Annika leading the way at $5.8 million, Paula at 4.8 million and Michelle at $4.0 million (not bad for a Stanford undergrad).

And speaking of Michelle Wie, be sure to study her photograph carefully. She has her driver wrapped around her neck in her follow-through and while her “position” speaks to her youth and flexibility, that’s not the best aspect of the shot. It’s the look on her face as she gazes intently at the ball she’s just launched. There isn’t one shred of emotion on her face; it’s completely neutral, just watching, just being in that moment.

Contrast it with same pose by number 21, Paul Casey, who displays just a wisp of a grimace. It may just be the aftereffect of his effort, but his face is not neutral.

Michelle’s is the face of mastery, a mirror of the calm you would find if you could somehow peer into her emotions.

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