Tour Pro Flies Coach Despite $1.5m TPC Sawgrass Winnings

 Tom Hoge takes a shot during the 2023 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass
Tom Hoge takes a shot during the 2023 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass

The Players Championship handed five players earnings of over $1m from its record $25m purse.

However, even though that handful of competitors left TPC Sawgrass considerably wealthier following their efforts, you would never know from the style of travel one of those players opted for to head home.

Tom Hoge finished tied for third to claim $1.475m in the final tournament of the Florida Swing, but rather than upgrade his plane seat to business class for his flight back to Fort Worth in Texas, he instead took a coach seat for the journey.

The 33-year-old posted an image of his less-than-luxurious seating arrangement on Twitter in response to a post from AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson, who reported the American had opted for the budget arrangement.

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In Hoge’s defence, he would have had low expectations of earning the huge sum when he booked the seat. The American had initially booked a flight home on Friday afternoon after a disappointing six-over 78 in the opening round left him facing the probability of missing the cut.

Things began to look up when he bettered that score by 10 on Friday, but even then, at two over, it was touch and go as to whether he would make it to Saturday. To complicate matters further, the weather intervened to ensure the second round couldn’t finish until Saturday morning. Presumably still anticipating a missed cut, Hoge rebooked the flight for Saturday afternoon, only to squeeze into the third round.

With his second flight no longer necessary, Hoge knew he wouldn't need to fly home until Sunday, and proceeded to take the tournament by storm, breaking the course record with a 10-under-par 62 on Moving Day to put himself into contention for victory. While that didn’t happen, his 70 on Sunday was enough to bag him the seven-figure prize.

While some PGA Tour pros own private jets, Hoge seems comfortable going to the opposite extreme despite his earnings – although judging by the limited leg room, he may have wished he’d splashed out on an upgrade.