Goldman Sachs paid pro golfer Patrick Cantlay more than $1 million annually, sources say

Goldman Sachs, the prominent financial institution, had entered into a noteworthy sponsorship agreement with professional golfer Patrick Cantlay, compensating him with an annual sum exceeding $1 million. This three-year deal, inked in 2020, guaranteed Cantlay a minimum of $1.1 million per year, with additional performance bonuses tied to victories in PGA Tour events, Major tournaments, and achieving top rankings. The contract, reflecting the bank’s foray into consumer banking, aimed to leverage Cantlay’s prominence in the golfing world to enhance its brand visibility.

However, in a shift reflective of Goldman Sachs’ strategic retrenchment from its retail banking endeavors, the bank chose not to renew Cantlay’s sponsorship in the current year. This decision aligns with broader moves made by CEO David Solomon to curtail money-losing initiatives, leading to the closure of a personal loan unit, the abandonment of a planned checking account, and divestment of various businesses.

Initially associated with the bank’s Marcus brand, Cantlay sported a cap featuring the short-lived logo. Subsequently, at the behest of John Waldron, Goldman Sachs’ president and purported golf enthusiast, the golfer transitioned to donning headgear adorned with the Goldman Sachs name.

The financial details of the sponsorship arrangement were not officially disclosed, but it is suggested that Cantlay’s compensation was considered relatively modest for a golfer ranked in the Top 10, given that his brand was still ascending when the initial deal was signed. Nevertheless, the golfer reportedly received a more substantial payment when the sponsorship was renewed for a one-year extension in 2023.

Goldman Sachs declined to comment on the financial specifics of the sponsorship, as did Cantlay’s representative, Molly Levinson. While the bank confirmed the non-renewal of Cantlay’s sponsorship, it noted that his association as a brand ambassador still persists on the company’s website, alongside other notable figures such as LGPA golfer Nelly Korda and McLaren’s Formula 1 racing team. This move reflects the evolving landscape of financial institutions navigating the realms of sports sponsorship as part of broader strategic shifts in their business endeavors.