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U.S. Open Won’t Chase Status As Richest Purse in Golf: Here Is Why

  • This year’s winner will take home $4.3 million from a record $21.5 million prize fund.
  • That’s lower than the $25 million the Players Championship shelled out in March.
Katie Goodale-USA TODAY Sports

The U.S. Open is done trying to be the biggest purse in golf, for now at least.

This week’s winner at Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina will take home a record $4.3 million from a total prize fund of $21.5 million, the USGA announced Wednesday. That’s up from last year’s $3.6 million and $20 million, respectively.

While the U.S. Open purse is the largest among the major championships this year, there are still other tournaments awarding more. In March, Scottie Scheffler won the $4.5 million first-place check at the Players Championship, which had a total purse of $25 million. LIV Golf events also pay out $25 million, when factoring in the individual ($20 million) and team ($5 million) allotments.

More Money, More Problems?

During the 2010s, the U.S. Open purse was consistently the highest in golf, even if only by $1 million. That hasn’t been the case this decade, though, as the Players Championship has topped the U.S. Open each year since ’21. 

During the USGA’s pre-tournament press conference, Front Office Sports asked whether there was an ambition to regain status as the richest championship in golf. “We’ll continue to monitor that,” USGA CEO Mike Whan said. “I think there’s probably some, if we went a million higher than some others, they’d just go [another] million, and I’m not really sure that’s the best answer.” 

Despite the less aggressive approach, there are not any apologies in order. “We’re proud of our purse,” Whan said. “I’m proud of the fact that we as an organization consistently ask ourselves whether or not we think we’ve got our purse right, our TV [strategy] right. All of those things have changed quite a bit in the last few years, and change is uncomfortable. But I think we’re not only keeping up with the times, but hopefully at least in the landscape of majors, we’re leading.”

LIV May Get New Pathway

There are 12 LIV Golf players competing at this week’s U.S. Open who qualified via exemptions from other recent victories in major championships or open qualifying. But Whan said the USGA could soon offer additional ways for LIV members to enter the field. “We’re going to talk about it this offseason, whether or not there needs to be a path to somebody or somebodies that are performing really well on LIV that can get a chance to play in that way,” he said. “I think we are serious about that.”

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