The lucrative reason PGA Tour pros want to win in Florida instead of California

January 20, 2023

The amount of money PGA Tour players net after a win depends significantly on the state where they win.

Christian Petersen

You can’t blame Si Woo Kim for celebrating his win at the Sony Open: A victory comes with perks beyond the $1.42 million first-place prize money, but a celebration in Hawaii costs a lot more than victories at other PGA Tour events—and that’s not just because of the cost of airfare and hotel rooms in Honolulu.

In Hawaii, you’ll pay a steep 11-percent state-income tax on income above $200,000, which means Kim will have to pay about $156,000 to the state for that good week. The winner at the American Express in Palm Springs this weekend (and at the Farmers, AT&T Pebble Beach and the Genesis) will have a similar experience. California taxes reach 13.3 percent (the highest in the country) for income above $1 million, which means the victory check will be almost $157,000 lighter.

In contrast, Florida, Texas and Nevada have no state-income tax, so picking up a win at the Shriners, Cadence Bank Houston Open, Honda Classic, Arnold Palmer Invitational, Players Championship, Valspar, WGC Dell Match Play and Valero Texas Open will save you serious cash. A win at the Honda will pay the same as the Sony, but the tax savings means you can get a loaded 2023 Porsche 911 for “free” along with the trophy.

It’s no mystery why PGA Tour players put down roots around Jupiter, Fla., and Dallas. Hanging at The Woods or Pecan Lodge is nice, but it really is all about the money.