Mark Baldwin breaks down the economics of the Korn Ferry Tour amid the coronavirus stoppage

March 30, 2020

Stacy Revere

PGA Tour pros are, by and large, financially secure. Thus, while the coronavirus hiatus has been inconvenient and boring and disruptive, guys aren't worrying about putting food on the table. The guy currently in 150th place in the FedEx Cup standings, Austin Cook, has already made $279,342 this year.

The same cannot be said of the Korn Ferry Tour, which is just one step below the big-boy circuit. Only 64 players have made more than $17,000. A big reason why: The KFT had only completed six events and handed out under $4 million in prize money when the stoppage began, while the PGA Tour had completed 22 events and handed out over $160 million.

All this to say: The stoppage has been crippling for KFT players, particularly those who haven't gotten off to the best starts. Mark Baldwin, currently 42nd on the money list with $25,049, joined the Golf Digest Podcast this week to give some insight into the economics of the KFT, and how putting the season on hold is squeezing wallets.

"The costs are elevated (in those first events), especially coming off Q-school, where you're paying the significant entry fee of $5,000," Baldwin said (47:20). "Plus, if you're going through pre-qualifying ... you have those four stages potentially of expenses on top of that.

"So a lot of people are putting Q-school, at the end of their seasons, on credit card. So they're playing on credit ... then the season starts up almost right away. You have Christmas in between, which is just another thing to throw money at. So by the time you get to the Bahamas, you could potentially be in a dire financial predicament."

We were also joined by Golf Digest international editor Ju Tan, who spoke to us from Singapore to give insight into how the Asian golf world has been affected by the virus, and how their current situation might provide some light at the end of the tunnel for us over here.

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