Do the players get paid for playing in the Ryder Cup?
The Ryder Cup is one of the most lucrative events in sports, pulling in millions of pounds through television rights and sponsorship. The last Ryder Cup in Europe – the 2018 event in Paris – is estimated to have generated more than $90m in revenue with this week’s event at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club expected to bring in even more.
The question of whether players get paid was been big news on day two in Rome with suggestions that Patrick Cantlay is leading a revolt in the team room over a fee for the Ryder Cup – claims he denies.
Week-to-week, the majority of Team Europe and Team USA players don’t tee it up in a PGA or DP World Tour tournament without a substantial prize fund and winner’s cheque on the line. But when it comes to the ultimate team event in golf, things are very different. It is felt that playing in the biennial event making history, representing your nation or continent, and lifting the trophy should be more than enough, without getting paid.
When the Ryder Cup began back in 1927, players were originally ‘compensated’ for playing in the event, with British players receiving a travel, clothing and equipment allowance.
That remained in place for many years before Tony Jacklin introduced a new tradition when first captaining Europe in 1983. Since then the players haven’t received any money, instead receiving gifts from their captains that are paid out of the Ryder Cup pool.
Things are different for Team USA, with the PGA of America giving each of the 12 players $200,000 each. It’s not for their next sports car or luxury holiday, though. The money is evenly split, with $100,000 going to the Boys & Girls Club of America, Drive, Chip, and Putt Championship, and PGA Junior League Golf and the other $100,000 going to charities of each player’s choice.
That hasn’t always been the case, only changing after the infamous “Battle of Brookline” match in 1999. USA big-hitters David Duval, Tiger Woods, Mark O’Meara, and Phil Mickelson all questioned where the reported $23 million net profit from the event went, with some reportedly frustrated they didn’t get paid despite countless “corporate” requirements throughout the week.
Speaking at the time, Woods said: “I would like to see us receive whatever the amount is – 200, 300, 400, 500,000 dollars, whatever it is – and I think we should be able to keep the money and do whatever we see fit.
“Personally, I would donate all of it to charity. But I think it’s up to the other person’s discretion what they would do with it.
“With all the money that’s being made, I think that we should have a say in where it goes.”
While there was talk that players could boycott the event (claims that were later played down), an agreement was reached following discussions. While the rules meant that the players weren’t entitled to any of the cash, a deal was made to allow the US team to have a say on the donations.
“Everybody is on the same page,” Tom Lehman said. “There will not be compensation to players under any circumstance. The PGA of America heard what the players had to say about having a voice. The players want what’s close to their hearts to be heard as well.
“The idea of a boycott was, is, and always will be… ridiculous.”
Do the Ryder Cup captains get paid?
They dedicate two years to the Ryder Cup captaincy but, in short, the answer is no. At least, not directly.
They receive travel expenses for promotional events and any responsibilities before the tournament but there is no ‘wage’ or win bonus.
However, their role receives worldwide exposure which, in most cases, has created lucrative opportunities after the Ryder Cup, from sponsorship deals and paid appearances to books and television roles.
Is the Ryder Cup revenue split between the tours?
Yes, but not evenly.
When the event is played in the United States, the PGA of America owns the rights to the events and takes the majority of the profits (just under 84%, with just over 16% going to the DP World Tour).
This week’s event at Marco Simone will see the DP World Tour claim 60% of the profits.
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About the Author
Rob specializes in the DP World Tour, PGA Tour, LIV Golf, and the Ryder Cup, spending large chunks of his days reading about, writing about, and watching the tours each month.
He’s passionate about the equipment used by professional golfers and is also a font of knowledge when it comes to golf balls, golf trolleys, and golf bags, testing thousands down the years.
Rob uses a Callaway Paradym driver, TaylorMade M5 5-wood, TaylorMade P790 driving iron, Callaway Paradym irons (4-AW), TaylorMade MG3 wedges (52º, 58º), Odyssey Tri-Hot 5k Double Wide putter, and Callaway Chrome Soft X golf ball.