Jack Nicklaus’ Earnings For 18 Major Wins is Mind Blowing

Jack Nicklaus Wins 1978 British Open
Jack Nicklaus is presented with the Claret Jug after winning the 1978 British Open at St. Andrews, Scotland. (Photo by Bob Thomas Sports Photography via Getty Images)

Jack Nicklaus won 73 PGA Tour titles including 18 major championships. Yet he played in an era when golfers competed for purses well under $500,000 with a first-place prize averaging $45,000.

Case in point: Nicklaus won five (5) PGA Championships, and earned a total of $203,000. Phil Mickelson, meanwhile, made $3,340,000 for his two Wannakers.

Rory McIlroy once said that Jack was forced to work (designing golf courses) after his playing career, because he didn’t make enough money in his prime.

That’s a bit of a stretch as Nicklaus’ name was a gold mine, and his name was leveraged in all kinds of branding deals, from equipment and apparel to books and memorabilia, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and income.

But Rory is correct in pointing out the absurdity of today’s money, while bringing to light the debate about how much prize money Nicklaus would have racked up if her were born in say 1980 instead of 1940.

Jack Nicklaus’ 18 Major Wins and Earnings

1962 U.S. Open – $17,500

1963 Masters – $20,000

1963 PGA Championship – $13,000

1965 Masters – $20,000

1966 Masters – $20,000

1966 British Open – $15,000

1967 U.S. Open – $30,000

1970 British Open – $40,000

1971 PGA Championship – $40,000

1972 Masters – $25,000

1972 U.S. Open – $30,000

1973 PGA Championship – $45,000

1975 Masters – $40,000

1975 PGA Championship – $45,000

1978 British Open – $125,000

1980 U.S. Open – $55,000

1980 PGA Championship – $60,000

1986 Masters – $144,000

Total Wins: 18
Total Earnings: $784,500
Average Earnings Per Major Win: $43,583


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