Pro Golf Weekly

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

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.

  • U.S. Open Prize Money
  • U.S. Household Income

Azeem Siddiqui

Azeem is a Pro Golf Weekly Contributor.

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