Henrik Stenson poses with an antique Coke machine on the 18th green after winning the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola and the FedExCup Playoffs at East Lake Golf Club.
(Photo: Kevin C. Cox Getty Images)
Where's the beef?
Luke Donald's freezers are busting with red meat, courtesy of his handiwork with a golf club. By winning the Dunlop Phoenix Open in Japan the past two years, Donald, in addition to the usual trophy and winner's paycheck, won more than 200 pounds of meat. But the Englishman most likely isn't grilling burgers - specialty cuts from Miyazaki cattle can go north of $300 a pound.
"I got about 100 pounds the first time, probably something similar to that for this year's victory," Donald said. "In other words, let's just say plenty."
And there are plenty of other expensive gifts that tournament winners receive besides the hardware and six- to seven-figure paychecks. Basically, it's Christmas year-round on the PGA Tour, where tournament directors double as Santa and spice up a winner's haul with extra goodies that set them apart from other events and in many ways capture the spirit of the venue or the essence of the tournament's sponsor.
For instance, the Farmers Insurance Open, played alongside cliffs facing the Pacific Ocean, started its tradition of giving an extra gift in 2011 when it presented winner Bubba Watson with a Hansen surfboard painted with the tournament logo. Tiger Woods won one this year; if the tradition had started in 1999, he'd have seven in all.
"San Diego is synonymous with surfing," tournament executive director Peter Ripa said. "The champion's surfboard creates a lasting image of our champion from the Farmers Insurance Open."
Perhaps the best haul comes from the Masters, where the victor gets a coveted green jacket, a lifetime invitation to the tournament and a lifetime seat at the table for the Champions Dinner. Even non-winners get in on the action as the tournament bestows crystal goblets for various achievements, including eagles and the day's lowest score.
The green jacket isn't the only garment that makes a nice extra. There is the blue blazer for the winner of the Arnold Palmer Invitational; the tartan jacket at the RBC Heritage; the seersucker jacket at the FedEx St.Jude Classic; a sport coat (and custom ring) to the winner of the Greenbrier Classic; and the plaid jacket at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
Watches make a great gift, too, such as the $40,000 Harry Winston gem that goes to the winner of the Sony Open.
Some gifts come with four wheels. The winner of the Honda Classic can drive away in a Honda of his choice. At the HP Byron Nelson Championship, the winner gets Tiffany cufflinks with Nelson's iconic image, and, for the past two years, the winner's caddie got a Cadillac.
You can even win a tractor. At the John Deere Classic, the winner gets a piece of the company's equipment, such as the Gator utility vehicle three-time champion Steve Stricker loves because "I can put a plow on the front, and with the heated cab you can plow in your shorts if you want. It's a great addition to all that comes with winning, and you have it for the rest of your life."
Before the 2010 John Deere, British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen took a tour of the company's factory - and the South African farmer bought a tractor. After this year's tournament, champion Jordan Spieth faced a problem - he has to get his piece of equipment to his home in Texas.
"It's actually ready for pick up ... I just don't know what to do with it," Spieth said earlier in December. "I don't know what I'll do with it. Depends on where I put it. But it's cool. It's a nice bonus."
The winner of the Valero Texas Open walks away in black or brown Lucchese cowboy boots (the boots take more than six months to create as the leather is cut and they are hand-stitched). This giveaway began in 2008, and Zach Johnson is the only player to win two pair.
"The heritage of the San Antonio area and the state of Texas is very important to us as a tournament," said tournament director Larson Segerdahl. "Presenting our champion with these boots allows us to share some of the style and ambiance of this region."
The PGA Tour's signature event, The Players Championship, gives out quite a few special extras, including a locker in the private Champions locker room. And talk about lasting: The winner has a favorite food or dish named for him and placed on the menu at Nineteen in the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse. Start with Fred Funk's nachos or Matt Kuchar's salad, then move on to Sergio's BLT, Phil Mickelson's lobster ravioli or Jim Furyk's filet mignon.
Thirsty? That won't be a problem for Henrik Stenson, winner this year of the FedExCup and Tour Championship, where in one day he earned $11.44 million, a vintage Coca-Cola vending machine and a year's supply of Coca-Cola products.
Keegan Bradley, who won the 2011 PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club in his first appearance in a major championship, got much more than the Wanamaker Trophy. There is the money clip, for starters, and the champion's watch. And he got an honorary membership to AAC.
"You get a ton of stuff," he said. "It's super cool. You really don't know what's going on, because you just won a major championship and your head is going 100 miles an hour and it just was great.
"You leave there with something. A lot of people don't know this, but at a lot of tournaments you really don't leave with anything, not even the trophy. So to leave with something is great."