No sooner had he wrapped up a bronze medal, Matt Kuchar gushed, "I've never been so happy with a third-place finish in my life." That joy showed up in countless photos of a smiling Kuchar posing with his new prized possession.
And even in this photo of a sleeping Kuchar.
Not bad for someone who didn't find out Olympics golf was an individual competition the week prior. And we're going to assume Kuchar also didn't/doesn't know you have to pay taxes if you win a bronze medal. We didn't, either.
But the Olympics are all about sportsmanship and national pride! we hear you say. Well, they are for the most part, but there are financial benefits as well, starting with the medals themselves. According to CNN Money, a gold medal has a value of about $564 and a silver goes for $305. A bronze is actually deemed to be worth a negligible amount, so good news for Kuchar, he doesn't owe any taxes on the medal itself.
But then there's the prize money. Again, contrary to popular belief, there are monetary prizes at the Olympics, which come in the form of bonuses that are determined by each country. The U.S. falls on the lower end of this scale -- in part because it has to pay out so many athletes -- but Americans still get $25,000 for a gold medal, $15,000 for silver and $10,000 for bronze. So Kuchar will have to pay taxes (probably about $4,000) on his bonus payout.
And yes, this means Michael Phelps owes a lot of money to the IRS for all of those gold medals, but keep in mind, he's also making 25Gs per G and that doesn't count all the endorsements that come with being the most decorated Olympian of all time.
Back to golf, it just so happens that Great Britain and Sweden are two of the only countries that don't offer Olympic bonuses to their athletes. That means Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson will have to be satisfied with just taking home their medals.
The most unique prize any golfer was playing for in Rio? That would be the $54,000 plus being exempt from mandatory military service being offered by the South Korean government. It's a perk that Sang-Moon Bae was hoping to have a shot at before he began his military service last fall. Byeong Hun An and Jeunghun Wang had an opportunity in Rio, but neither medaled.
And there weren't any golfers playing for the biggest Olympic payout of all, the $745,000(!) bonus offered by Singapore to any athlete who won the country's first gold medal. Singapore had no golfers qualify, but swimmer Joseph Schooling claimed the prize by winning the 100-meter butterfly. And it's tough to say he didn't deserve it. After all, he beat Michael Phelps.