Do players get paid for playing in the Ryder Cup?


Do the players get paid for playing in the Ryder Cup?

Today's Golfer's 2021 Ryder Cup coverage is brought to you in association with PING.

The Ryder Cup is one of the most lucrative events in sports, pulling in millions of pounds through television rights and sponsorship and competed in by 24 multi-millonaire golfers.

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Week-to-week, the majority of Team Europe and Team USA players wouldn't tee it up in a tournament unless there was 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. Playing in the biennial event is all about making history, representing your nation or contintent and playing with pride, not getting paid. 

Rory McIlroy shows his passion at the 2016 Ryder Cup.

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.

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The Ryder Cup players and captains don't get paid, win or lose.

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.

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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.

Tiger Woods was among the players at the 1999 Ryder Cup who questioned how profit from the event was used.

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's 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.

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"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 and always will be ... ridiculous."

Patrick Reed shows his passion at the 2014 Ryder Cup.

Do the Ryder Cup captains get paid?

They dedicate two years (or three in the case of Padraig Harrington and Steve Stricker) 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 their 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 it's sponsorship deals and paid appearances to books and television roles.

In the case of this year's captains, both Harrington and Stricker are still highly competitive golfers and are expected to return to playing full time.

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Ian Poulter shows his passion at the 2012 Ryder Cup.

Is the Ryder Cup revenue split between the tours?

Yes, but not evenly.

When the event is played in the United States, such as this year's match at Whistling Straits, 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 European Tour).

When the event is hosted in Europe, as it will be in 2023, the European Tour claims 60 per cent of the profits.

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