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Q&A: How much does a golfer really bring in after a big win?

Gauging a golfer's earnings

Jason Dufner won more than $1 million in the Zurich Classic. After the IRS, his caddie and the attendant in the men's room who hands him a paper towel each get a taste of his winnings, about how much will Dufner wind up with?

There's no way to know for sure how much Dufner "cleared" after his first PGA Tour victory April 29. Everyone's expenses are different, and there are just too many variables that we don't know.

What we do know is that Dufner won $1.12 million. What we can guess at is that someone with that kind of income is generally in the 35 percent bracket. So it's reasonable to think he might have socked away more than $300,000 for taxes.

Most caddies get a set paycheck each week, in the range of $1,200, as well as a percentage of earnings from tournaments. Caddies of the winning golfer often get 10 percent of the winnings.

Then there are a golfer's coaches, accountant, manager. There are travel expenses, which typically run more than $100,000 a year for a full schedule. Some golfers are backed by investors who take a cut of all earnings. There are costs to be a member of a tour, and to enter individual tournaments.

Some of these costs may be offset by sponsorships and endorsements deals.

For a fascinating inside look at the tour from the vantage point of an up-and-coming golfer, we highly recommend a story we saw in Forbes, by Michael Noer. He details Ben Martin's hurdles to making it on the PGA Tour. You can read it at (scroll down to his Feb. 8 entry titled: "On the edge: Money, life and loneliness on the fringe of the PGA Tour").

Pointers on NASCAR points

Would you please explain the NASCAR Sprint Cup points system? It is supposed to award points based on finishing place on a sliding scale from 43-1 with extra points awarded on certain accomplishments. But in the March 4 race, I noticed that drivers Mike Bliss, who finished 24th, and Joe Nemechek, who finished 40th, both received zero points.

Bliss and Nemechek can't earn points in NASCAR Sprint Cup events because they are accumulating points on NASCAR's Nationwide Tour. Prior to the 2011 season, NASCAR instituted a rule stating that drivers could only earn points in one national series. It was done to keep Sprint Cup drivers from winning titles on other circuits and "also help cultivate new stars on those lower tours," senior writer David Caraviello told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"Drivers can still race in whatever events they want, but they have to declare what series they'll be accumulating championship points in," Caraviello said. "Joe Nemechek and Mike Bliss have declared for the Nationwide Tour (in 2012), which means they receive zero points in Sprint Cup events." He said that in the official results, an (i) — which means "ineligible to receive championship points" — appears next to their names.

Q&A: How much does a golfer really bring in after a big win? 05/14/12 [Last modified: Monday, May 14, 2012 5:41pm]
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