The Amazing Chart Showing the Growth of U.S. Open Prize Money

Bill Casper was the first winner of a 4-figure payday at the U.S. Open in 1959. Credit: Casper Golf

This story originally appeared in 2016. It has been updated to reflect recent milestones and payouts.

In 2015 and 2016, Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson, respectively, took home a cool $1.8 million for winning the U.S. Open.

Last year, Brooks Koepka cashed a check for $2,160,000 – a raise of a whopping $360,000.

Winning the U.S. Open, however, wasn’t always a guaranteed payday worth millions.

When Jack Nicklaus won the U.S. Open in 1980, for example, his winning share was worth $55,000. The median U.S. household income at the time was $17,000. So while Nicklaus took home in 4 days what the average family made in about 3 years, this weekend’s winner will take home what the average U.S family will make in about 35 years.

Here’s a look at some milestones.

1895 – The Three-Figure Payday

In the very first U.S Open tournament, back in 1895, the winner, England’s Horace Rawlins, received a check for $150. The household income was $300.

1931 – Winning Prize Hits Four-Figures

It took 36 more years for the prize money to hit four-digits when Billy Burke took home $1,750 for his win.The median household income was $1,970.

1959 – Winning Prize Hits Five-Figures

Billy Casper won $12,000 for capturing the 1959 Open. It was the first year a winner received a prize worth 5-figures. The average American family reportedly made $3,856.

1985 – Winning Prize Hits Six-Figures

It took another 26 years for the winner’s share to enter in to the six-figure category. In 1985, Andy North took home $103,000 for his U.S. Open title. The American family income was $22,259.

2002 – The First One-Million Dollar Payday

In the year 2002, Tiger Woods won $1 million to mark the first time a champion took home a seven-figure payday. In 2002, incomes for Americans averaged $41,911.

2017 – The First Two-Million Dollar Payday

In the year 2017, Brooks Koepka won $2.16 million to mark the first time a winner earned over two-million. In 2017, the household income for Americans averaged $59,039.



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