In 1958, Arnold Palmer was the PGA Tour money leader, with $42,000 in winnings. This year, Vijay Singh has won a little over a million in just two tournaments. Meanwhile, Tiger Woods is poised to become a $4 BILLION dollar man.
How fast has the tour grown? Just sixteen years ago, the purse total for the season was $41 million. That’s topped by this year’s first eight tournaments alone.
Of course, tournaments aren’t the only—or even the major—component of the golf industry. A 2002 study found that the “golf economy” (the value of all golf goods and services) in that year was worth $62 billion. Compare that the movie industry’s $57 billion. That’s bigger than the Gross Domestic Product of Peru, Romania, Ukraine or Morocco.
As much as I love golf, I find these numbers astounding. To think that we consume enough golf to keep an entire country going for year. Wow.