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Per-shot earnings put purses in perspective

Oct 26,2017
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Justin Thomas of the United States hits a bunker shot during the final round of The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges on Jeju Island on Sunday. [JNA GOLF]
It can be easy to lose perspective on just how much money golfers make by playing four rounds in a tournament, since the sums are often so much that it’s difficult to easily visualize, but when the winning purse is broken down to earnings per shot, the resulting figure is even more impressive.

Though this was the first year a PGA Tour event was hosted in Korea, The CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges on Jeju Island had the Tour’s 10th highest winning purse out of 49 events, as well as no cuts, allowing every player in the field to receive prize money.

Justin Thomas finished on nine-under-par 279 for the four rounds of the CJ Cup to win, taking home $1.665 million, which is equivalent to $5,994 per shot.

To put that in perspective, it would take over 151 years of full-time work at Korea’s minimum wage of 6,470 won to make up that sum.

During the 2016-17 season, which ended in September, Thomas made 5,482 shots and earned $19.71 million, including the $10 million bonus he received from winning the FedEx Cup Playoffs, which is equal to $3,596 per shot, excluding the match-play tournament and team event.

But this is nothing compared to Tiger Woods, who in 2007 racked up the highest-ever earnings per shot at $5,033, making a total of 4,146 shots that season and earning $20.62 million. Excluding Woods’ $10 million bonus from the playoffs, he made $2,612 per shot.

Meanwhile, as of Wednesday, Park Sung-hyun leads the LPGA Tour’s money list for the season, earning over $2.1 million. With 5,055 shots, that’s $416 per shot.

If Park nets the $1 million bonus by winning the race to the CME Globe point standings, her earnings per shot will exceed $534 for the season and she will earn one-sixth of Thomas’ earnings last season, highlighting the pay gap between men’s and women’s tours. Ryu ranks second in the category, earning $372 per shot, just ahead of Lexi Thompson of the United States, who earned $337 per shot so far this season.

On the KPGA Tour, rookie Chang Yi-keun earned $213 per shot. Though Kim Seung-hyuk made the most this season at $560 million, he earned $150 per shot.

On the KLPGA Tour, Ko Jin-young and Lee Jeong-eun have earned $168 per shot this season as of Wednesday. Ko’s earnings exclude the winning purse she made from her victory at the KEB Hana Bank Championship, as it is an LPGA Tour event.

In 1999, Woods made $1,268 per shot. At the same time, Carrie Webb of Australia, who was then the best female golfer, earned $255 per shot and Pak Se-ri, who won four LPGA Tour events that season, earned $150 per shot. Pak and Webb’s earnings that season are similar to Ko and Lee’s on the LPGA Tour this season.

BY SUNG HO-JUN [kang.yoorim@joongang.co.kr]