Masters Winner Johnson Prevails in Tax Game by Not Winning in NY

By winning the 2020 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., Dustin Johnson won what is often considered the most prestigious tournament in the sport. He was presented with the fabled green jacket, just like Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and other legends who have earned victories.

Johnson also takes home a generous purse of $2.07 million from the Masters’ purse of $11.5 million. Not too shabby a prize for playing four rounds of golf.

Yet $2,070,000 is still $180,000 less than $2,250,000, the amount Bryson DeChambeau was awarded from the 2020 U.S. Open’s tournament’s purse of $12.5 million. DeChambeau won the tournament held at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y., back in September. Winning the Open might not carry quite the same cachet as winning the Masters, but many might prefer an additional $180,000 in winnings.

That’s before taxes, however. After taxes, the margin between the two winners’ earnings narrows considerably. The “net” they will take home is significantly less than the gross.

Both golfers will pay a federal income tax of 37% on their winnings. DeChambeau’s prize, however, is also subject to New York’s 8.82% state income tax. Meanwhile, Johnson—who won the 2016 U.S Open—will become familiar with Georgia’s 5.375% state income tax.

So, what does all this mean? After tax, DeChambeau took home approximately $1,219,050, while Johnson will take home a projected amount of $1,192,838.

A difference of $180,000 shrinks to $26,212.

There are other factors that could impact these calculations and the golfers’ actual payday. Possible agents’ fees, caddie tips and travel deductions are among the types of expenses that could alter the math.

But as is always the case with winnings and earnings in professional sports, Uncle Sam and most states will gladly take their shares.

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