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Online Extra: Who Wants To Be 100th on the Money List?


A long, imposing stretch of the great plains separated Danielle La Voie from a flight she was certain she would miss, necessitating a dash in a rental car that burned more gas than her meager paycheck covered. Left behind was the glamour usually associated with the life of a tour pro.

La Voie was in Wichita, Kan., where she had tied for 60th in a Futures Golf Tour event to earn $36. The tour was moving to Denver, where the forecast called for snow, persuading her to withdraw and return home to Napa, Calif., to prepare for a U.S. Women's Open qualifier. Her nonrefundable airline ticket required that she fly from Denver, hence the 600-mile, high-speed run from Wichita. Meanwhile, the agency from which she had rented her car insisted she take another to Denver, so she began her Monday morning by exchanging cars in Wichita.

Ten hours and a $100 speeding ticket later, the last passenger to board, La Voie took her seat on a flight home...where she would fail in her Open qualifier. "There are some days," La Voie says, "that I would rather be doing something else."

Tour golf through the prism of a television presents professional golfers earning lucrative livings, but it fails to show a competing reality: For players beyond the range of the camera, tour golf can be grueling, maddening, humbling...and costly.

Late last season, we identified the 100th leading money-winners from six tours (the PGA, LPGA, Senior PGA, Buy.com, NGA Hooters and Futures) and asked them to open up their lives and financial books. Their 2001 earnings ranged from $407,065 (Brandt Jobe, who eventually slipped to 124th on the PGA Tour) to $2,104 (La Voie, on the Futures Tour). None of them won a tournament, but they were all in agreement that a life on tour beats the 9-to-5 alternative. "There are thousands of people who would like to be out there shooting the scores I was shooting," says the Senior PGA Tour's Bill Holstead. "There are lots of people who would want to trade places."

Events

Brandt Jobe

PGA Tour

30

LaurelKean

LPGA Tour

27

Bill Holstead

Senior PGA Tour

26

Charley Hoffman

Buy.com Tour

23

Daniel DeBra

NGA Hooters Tour

14

Danielle La Voie

Futures Golf Tour

18

2001 INCOMEPrize Money

$407,065

$63,106

$54,919

$54,052

$5,844

$2,104

Earnings per event

$13,569

$2,337

$2,112

$2,350

$417

$117

Endorsements income

$90,000

$20,000

$30,000

$8,000

$4,500

$0

2001 GOLF EXPENSES

Tournament entry fees

$0

$150 per event

$100 per event

$100 per event

$650-$900 per event

$320 per event

Airfare

$600 per week

$2,500 in 2001

$350 per week

$225 per week

$0

$1,200 in 2001

Rental car

$1,000 per year

$1,500 per year

Courtesy car

$220 per week

$0

$225 per week

Lodging

$1,000 per week

$500 per week

$700 per week

$350 per week

$150 per week

$350 per week

Food, incidentals

$400 per week

$120 per week

$250 per week

$140 per week

$115 per week

$115 per week

Caddie

$800, plus a

percentage of

earnings

$650, plus a

percentage of

earnings

$600, plus a

percentage of

earnings

$450, plus a

percentage of

earnings

$0 (carried his bag

to cut expenses)

$0, event provided

volunteer caddies

Equipment

Provided

Provided

Provided

Provided

Provided

Provided

2001 PERSONAL EXPENSES

Mortgage payment

$2,500

$1,300

House is paid off

$1,400

$950

$950 rent

Big-ticket treat to self

A new Chevy

Suburban

A new home for

$200,000

A new Buick Park

Avenue for his wife

A Las Vegas home

for about $200,000

A new townhouse

A digital camera

ON A PERSONAL NOTE

Expenses increase

dramatically when

he travels with

wife and daughter.

Drives her van to

most tournaments,

and occasionally

stays with friends

on the road.

Made a bit more

from golf than he

did from his brick

business.

Often shares

rental car and

lodging with

another player.

Has a sponsor,

Fred Price.

Often stays with

friends or with

host families

arranged by the

tournament.

By John Strege


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