From a seven-way playoff for third place to a South African/Florida resident winning silver for Slovakia, there were plenty of unexpected developments during an exciting men’s golf competition at the Tokyo Olympics. But a bronze medal being worth more than a gold one is probably a plot twist that not too many people saw coming.

That turned out to be the case, though, due to the countries being represented by those golfers who wound up on the medal podium. As’s Dylan Dethier pointed out, C.T. Pan earned approximately $US179,000 for finishing third – or nearly five times as much as Xander Schauffele will get for gold.

Still confused? Allow us to explain.

With the Olympics offering no official prizemoney, it’s up to each country to decide how much to reward its athletes for winning medals. The US gives $37,500 to gold medallists, $22,500 to silver medallists, and $15,000 to bronze medallists. Not bad – but also not nearly what some other countries (granted, with far fewer medallists) pay.

RELATED: Phil Mickelson already knows how Xander will taunt him with the gold medal

One of those countries is Chinese Taipei, which, according to Forbes, has the second-highest payment structure of all countries competing in the Olympics. A bronze medal is worth five million New Taiwan Dollars (NT) or about $US179,000. A silver is 10 million NT and a gold is 20 million, or about $US716,000. Only Singapore ($US738,000) pays its athletes more.

In another strange twist, Schauffele’s mum, Ping Yi, was actually born in Chinese Taipei before being raised in Japan. Xander referred to Pan as “my fellow countryman” after the event since he’s half Taiwanese. But he still got only one-fifth the payout Pan will receive.

Of course, winning a gold medal, no matter the country you represent, has meaning that goes beyond any dollar value – especially when you do it in front of a father who had his own Olympic dreams dashed decades before. Oh, and there’s also the fact Schauffele has made more than $US5 million in on-course earnings alone already this PGA Tour season. So, yeah, he’s doing all right for himself.

PHOTO: Chris Trotman