We recently reported that Jason Day is leaning towards playing in Australia for the first time since 2012 if he indeed does appear in the Australian PGA of 2016 in December.
The issue of top-class Australian athletes abandoning home turf to compete overseas is simply economic: They can earn far more in Europe or the U.S. for the same investment of skill.
Adam Scott’s recent win in the Honda Open in Florida provides a case in point. Combined with his second place finish from the previous week, his eight rounds of golf returned around $1.6 million USD ($2.25 million AUD), more than the entire prize pool for the Australian PGA.
Salary figures for 2014 indicated that Golden State Warriors big man Andrew Bogut was the highest earning Australian athlete at $16.2 million USD. Number for on the 2014 list of highest paid Australian athletes was now-retired NASCAR driver Marcos Ambrose, who earned $5.68 million on the NASCAR circuit for finishing in 23rd position for the series.
The first Australian athlete who actually plays in Australia is cricketer Shane Watson at number eight on the list with $4.5 million.
It is necessary to drop down the list to the 43rd position to find a rugby player, that being Israel Folau, whose $1.5 million salary for the season was less than Adam Scott’s take for roughly 24 hours of golf spread over two weeks.
Four positions further down, at 47th, Gary Ablett is the first Australian Rules Football name to appear.