If he wins the FedEx Cup this weekend, Scheffler will set a new PGA Tour single-season on-course earnings record, shattering the mark set by Rory Mcllroy in 2019.
SScottie Scheffler has driven the same car since college, a Chevy Suburban that now has 178,000 miles and which he admits could use a wash. “As long as it keeps running, I’ll probably keep driving it,” he told reporters. a few weeks ago. Now, coming off of arguably the best season of his career and on the eve of history, he has more than enough cash for an upgrade.
During the 2021-22 PGA Tour regular season, which began in September, the 26-year-old golfer set an official on-course earnings record at just over $14 million. If Scheffler wins at the Tour Championship on Sunday — he currently holds a two-stroke lead — he will reap an additional $18 million. Combined, that mark of $32 million for the regular season plus the FedEx Cup playoffs would shatter the previous high of about $9 million. (Rory McIlroy earned a total of $22.8 million in 2019.)
It’s hard to overstate Scheffler’s dominance. He’s won four times this season in just six starts, including the 2022 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club, where he held off a late run from McIlroy to earn his first green jacket. He added six more top-five finishes en route to becoming the highest-ranked golfer in the world in March. Thanks to performance bonuses on top of his base salary from sponsors such as Nike, TaylorMade and Titleist, Forbes estimates that Scheffler’s endorsement revenue over the past 12 months has grown to $12 million. His total of $44 million, including potential FedEx Cup winnings, would have placed him sixth on Forbes’ recent list of the ten highest paid golfers in the world, $1 million ahead of McIlroy. (Scheffler missed the list because the FedEx Cup playoffs are outside of his tracking window.)
“Now is a great time to be a good golfer,” says Martin Conway, a professor at Georgetown University’s Institute of Sports Management. “[This is a] combination of his talent and arriving at a time when the inflation of golf earning opportunities has never been better.
TIMES ARE CHANGING’
Average PGA Tour earnings have increased exponentially over the past 40 years.
It’s true. Over the past decade, average on-the-road revenue for tour members has increased 57%, to $1.6 million. That figure climbs to an astronomical 4,094% from 1980, the first publicly available data from the PGA Tour.
But even more money is flowing into the sport thanks to the emergence of LIV Golf. The upstart tour, which is backed by Saudi Arabia’s $620 billion (assets) sovereign wealth fund, hasn’t been shy about shelling out huge sums just to lure players to its events. Thanks to sky-high signing payments totaling around $370 million, LIV has placed seven golfers among the top ten highest paid in the world. Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka have all reportedly received nine-figure guarantees, of which around half according to industry experts were received in advance.
“Scottie Scheffler is now synonymous with performance.”
Scheffler hasn’t been linked to any LIV rumors yet, but he’s definitely the benefactor of a Perfect Storm. In response to LIV, the PGA Tour made changes to improve paydays and conditions for its top players. On Wednesday, Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced a series of changes that include 12 “high events” for the 2023 regular season that will average $20 million in prize money, a doubling of the Player Impact program to 20 players and $100 million. dollars, and a $500,000 guarantee for each fully exempted player. The PGA Tour also plans to return to a calendar year schedule in 2024 and introduce a handful of events that, like LIV, don’t have a “cut”.
“It’s like being a Major League Baseball player in 2023 versus 2002,” Conway says. “Maybe it’s comparable, maybe you’re not even as good, but the scholarships and earning opportunities are exorbitant.”
The potential payoff for those at the top of their game is even greater. “I think about it in terms of the multiplier effect,” Conway says. He adds that winning one of the four major tournaments, placing No. 1 or earning more money than anyone else could double, triple or even quadruple sponsorship opportunities.
Scheffler, who joined the PGA Tour in 2018, is one step closer to that status. Born in Ridgewood, New Jersey, he later moved to Dallas, where he attended Highland Park High, the alma mater of Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw. He too proved to be a natural winner, winning three straight individual state championships before leading the University of Texas to three Big 12 titles.
Can he similarly dominate the PGA Tour in years to come? Don’t bet against him.
“Scottie Scheffler is now synonymous with performance,” says Conway. “At the end of the day, he is dependable and dependable. Performance day after day.