Sponsors have actually long paid players to contend in tournaments, however that money has actually become an ext important to gain players come travel during the pandemic.

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High-profile players prefer Rory McIlroy, watched putting throughout round two of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship in 2018, lug in fans and also make sponsors happy, so their presence is important.Credit...Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Craig Spence has actually no doubt the the shot the hit right into the 18th eco-friendly in the last round that the Australian master in 1999 was what granted the entry into the rewarding world of worldwide golf, v its larger purses and equally attractive illustration fees.

That shot collection Spence up for a putt to beat Greg Norman, that at that allude had double won the british Open, and Spence did it in their home nation at that is most essential tournament.

“I fight the perfect shot, 4 feet behind the hole,” the said.

When that made the putt, for a birdie and the win, invitations come play top top the Asian and Japan tours, the PGA Tour and also the European tour came putting in.

Those were great, however it was the illustration fees from sponsors because that top global players and also up-and-coming ones favor him the made a couple of of the lengthy trips easier to make. Those fees eased the push on Spence come cover the costs of happen his caddie, coach and also family members come tournaments.


“Now you teeing the up and also playing for free,” stated Spence, who currently teaches golf in western Australia. “You’re not going to shed anything if you don’t play well.”


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In 1999 Craig Spence won the Australian Masters and also moved into the echelon of upstream golfers available appearance fees.Credit...Jack Atley/Getty Images

Paying players to fly to a expert golf tournament might seem unnecessary. Yet it’s an old practice used even in occasions where the winner receives millions of dollars and also where an also-ran can make 10s of thousands.

And coming out of 2020, when skilled golf occasions after march were mostly closed come fans due to the fact that of the pandemic, those fees have become much more important this year and are an integral part of a tournament’s marketing budget.

Without marquee players, fewer fans will certainly watch in ~ home, additional worsening the return because that sponsors. As one certified dealer pointed out, if viewership numbers to be down, sponsors would certainly be even more concerned with their marketing spending than they to be now.


“Appearance fees perform still exist at details events for details players,” claimed James Dunkley, manager for Lee Westwood and also other players.

The european Tour’s swing through the Middle east is known for using appearance fees to develop top-notch fields. Those tournaments include the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, i m sorry starts Thursday, followed by occasions in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar, with prestige falling by the last 2 events.

The reasons for payment fees room many. Without them, some peak players i will not ~ attend and the stamin of the roster falls, which reduces the number of points easily accessible for the people golf rankings. That can additional keep peak players away. Sponsors, doling out millions of dollars, desire to guarantee a solid field.

Top players, who are greatly based in the united States, regularly want to prevent the travel and also instead play in the early on events ~ above the PGA Tour, in Hawaii and also California. They likewise have other commitments come schedule around.

“Players generally commit to play 35 weeks, which pipeline you 17 mainly a year off, or because that holidays or sponsor obligations,” claimed Nick Biesecker, a longtime golf agent. “Time is her most beneficial commodity. It needs to be financially rewarding to carve the end a week.”


Of food not every one of the top players space being payment to play, and those who space receiving fees don’t exactly advertise it.

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is attractive. In enhancement to one $8 million purse, it uses a many world-ranking points because of the peak players in the field. This year is the very first time that Justin Thomas, people No. 3, will certainly play the event, and also Rory McIlroy will return to the tournament for the very first time since 2018.


Appearance fees favor those because that a player the Spence’s caliber — one with a far-reaching victory who could be poised for more — make up a an excellent portion of an event’s marketing budget. Sponsors desire stories to tell.

The fees vary widely. They might simply covering a player’s airfare and also accommodation or add a bit much more to sheathe the caddie’s base rate — about $1,500 come $2,000 a main — and travel for some additional family members. Or the fee could be a solved amount native $50,000 come $100,000, with travel expenses had on height of that.

The ideal players deserve to receive fees of more than $500,000, though periodically those payouts are structured together a guarantee against any winnings in the event. Players prefer Dustin Johnson, ranked No. 1 in the world, have actually received more than $1 million come play in an event.

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Tiger Woods was paid a $3 million fee to play in the 2013 Turkish airline Open. He perfect fourth yet made much more than double what the winner, Victor Dubuisson, earned v a $1.1 million first-place check.