How does the prize money in golf compare to gambling disciplines?

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick December 2, 2019 15:16

Within the world of professional sports, the prize money is continuing to rise as it reaches new, record-breaking heights. In golf, the total prize pots are growing ever-more rewarding for those participating, but there are still questions marks surrounding whether, compared to other sectors, professional golfers enjoy superior rewards than predominantly gambling-based disciplines and the eSports market.

We’re going to compare the prize money between the above industries, along with analysing whether golf players deserve higher rewards as a means of widescale encouragement.

2019 Zozo Championships Prize Comparison

In 2019, the very first Zozo Championship was held in Inzai after the Japan Golf Tour and PGA co-sanctioned the event. After concluding on October 27th, Tiger Woods was declared as the winner following a 19-under-par round, which was three shots better than second-placed Hideki Matsuyama.

Concerning the event’s total prize pool, the figure was recorded at £7.5 million, making it the joint-most lucrative tournament on the PGA tour outside of major competitions. Regarding individual performance-based rewards, Tiger Woods enjoyed a £1.36 million pay-out, while second and third place received £817,000 and £438,000 respectively.

While the numbers in question appear fair given the tournament is completed over four days, when considered alongside the World Series of Poker 2019 event, the payment structures in golf do somewhat come under scrutiny. At the Main Event, the prize pool totalled in excess of $80 million, with the winner pocketing the seven-figure sum of £7.7 million. Even though each respective organisation is free to distribute prize money in a manner that they see fit, the winner of the 2019 WSOP Main event will secure more capital on their own than each of the participants at the Zozo Championship combined.

Gaming disciplines

One of the biggest contributing factors for varying prize pots relates to the accessibility of participation. In order to achieve the biggest rewards in golf, it requires years of dedication and hard work out on the course. Contrary to that, within gaming disciplines, due to many poker-related and iGaming sites now being easily accessible online, signing up and playing can now be done from any location. In turn, as a result of superior numbers of participation, the finances going into eSports and traditional casino games is far likely to be higher, allowing for platforms to offer more substantial cash prizes.

In relation to accessibility impacting prize potential, at VideoSlots, for example, Hall of Gods, a popular slot game, boasts a jackpot-winning total of approximately £2.2 million. Moreover, other easily available titles such as Golf’n Monkeys has been developed with lots of great features, including free-spin scatter symbols, that help gamers win substantial cash prizes from the comfort of their own home. In turn, it’s clear from this that there is less of an incentive to practice within professional fields such as golf with less time-consuming digital alternatives providing more attractive price structures.

Are golfers deserving of more?

When compared to industries such as eSports and iGaming, the total prize funds of non-major golfing tournaments don’t always reflect the lifelong dedication that players are making to achieve professional success. As already touched upon, the reward money from the Main Event and digital iGaming opportunities massively eclipse what was on offer during the 2019 Zozo Championships. While there are no reasons for various events to offer financial bonuses that are identical, there is reason to believe that golf needs to match the high prize pots of ever-growing digital markets in order to encourage continued participation.


Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick December 2, 2019 15:16
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