Jordan Spieth turned pro in December of 2012, in the middle of his sophomore year at University of Texas. The same graduating class as Johnny Manziel, Spieth would just now be eligible for the NFL Draft, but has already signed a sponsorship deal with Under Armour and made over $5.7 million on the PGA Tour. 2014 is not yet 1/3 over, and Spieth, who heads into today tied for the Masters lead with Bubba Watson, has already netted more than $1.8 million in golf earnings.
For tidy comparison sake, Super Bowl-winning quarterback Russell Wilson made a reported $526,217 last season and $625,000 in 2012. Wilson, a former third round draft pick, is slotted into his salary for the first four years of his career, while golfers sink or swim based entirely on their play. It is highly probable that Spieth will earn more money playing this year than both the first pick in the NFL Draft (in 2013, Eric Fisher’s four-year deal averaged $4.5 million per season), as well as the first pick in the NBA Draft, who in 2013 was slated to make $4.4 million in his first year, $4.8M in his third, and subject to a team option for a 26% raise from there in his fourth season. (Anthony Bennett may not hit that escalator.)
MLB’s rookie wage scale is hardly more player-friendly. Last season, Mike Trout made $510,000 while Giancarlo Stanton earned $537,000. It is readily apparent that major team owners pay wages that are well below market value for their elite young performers.
Update: With a reported $972,000 for second place in The Masters yesterday, Jordan Spieth has now made more than six times as much as Russell Wilson on their respective playing fields.