It's no secret that top PGA Tour golfers can earn a fair amount of cash throughout their career, with even a single victory guaranteeing a pay cheque offering up life-changing sums of money.
For the 2021/22 PGA Tour season, not only have we seen a seismic increase in the amount of prize money, but also in media coverage, with PGA Tour Live’s move to ESPN+, Netflix's announcement of a behind the scenes docuseries and the strategic alliance with the DP World Tour yielding big changes within the largest golf tour in the world.
Out of the $838 million in comprehensive earnings to players in 2022, nearly half of that will feature in prize money, with $427 million being distributed between the 47 official tournaments. This means that the average purse this season is now an eye-watering $9.1 million per event!
Breaking down the prize money offered out in the events, we do indeed see some trends, but two things really stand out - Firstly, only four tournaments have a first-place pay-out of less than $1 million and secondly, eight events (Tour Championship has no purse of its own due to the FedEx Cup) offer a higher purse than three of the four Majors, The Masters, PGA Championship and The Open.
So let's start off with the biggest pay cheques that the pros will be playing for in the 2021/22 season. Last year, the FedEx Cup pool was just a measly $60 million, now, in 2021/22, we see a $15 million increase to $75 million, meaning the winner will scoop $18 million, a $3 million increase on last year.
The Comcast Business Tour Top 10, which rewards the top players in the regular season, has also seen its pool doubled to $20 million, with the first two FedEx Cup Playoff events – the FedEx St. Jude Championship and BMW Championship – seeing both their prize money rise by more than $5 million to $15 million, making them the third and fourth highest purses.
Moving away from the FedEx Cup events to Florida and TPC Sawgrass for The Players Championship which, for this season, has seen its prize money move from $15 million to $20 million, making it the richest tournament in golf. Ironically, golf's 'fifth Major' is the highest-paying single event in the game.
Talking of Majors, the US Open has also seen an increase over the last few years. Originally $10 million in 2016, and then $12 million in 2017, it has increased by $500,000 in 2022 to $12.5m, making it still comfortably the largest purse of the four Major championships.
The three player-hosted invitationals – the Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational and Memorial Tournament feature next, with all three offering $12 million in prize money, an increase of nearly $3 million over the previous season. The World Golf Championships have also increased their purses from $10.5 million to $12 million.
We then come to the Majors, with The Masters offering $11.5 million, the PGA Championship $11 million and Open Championship $10.75 million, oddly less than the World Golf Championship events...
It's not just on the course where individuals are going to be making a serious buck or two. The Player Impact Program and new Play15 bonus offers players the potential to increase their earnings further. The PIP will be paying out $50 million in 2021/22, an increase of $10 million over its inaugural year, with the introduction of the Play15 bonus handing out $50,000 to each player who competes in 15 events this season.
2022 PGA Tour Purses - Ranked Largest To Smallest
|Tournament||Prize Money||1st Place Pay-out|
|The Players Championship||$20,000,000||$3,600,000|
|FedEx St. Jude Championship||$15,000,000||$2,700,000|
|The Genesis Invitational||$12,000,000||$2,160,000|
|Arnold Palmer Invitational||$12,000,000||$2,160,000|
|The Memorial Tournament||$12,000,000||$2,160,000|
|WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play||$12,000,000||$2,040,000|
|The Open Championship||$10,750,000||$1,935,000|
|The CJ Cup at Summit||$9,750,000||$1,755,000|
|AT&T Byron Nelson||$9,100,000||$1,638,000|
|Wells Fargo Championship||$9,000,000||$1,620,000|
|AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am $1,566,000||$8,700,000||$1,566,000|
|RBC Canadian Open||$8,700,000||$1,566,000|
|Valero Texas Open||$8,600,000||$1,548,000|
|Farmers Insurance Open||$8,400,000||$1,512,000|
|Charles Schwab Challenge||$8,400,000||$1,512,000|
|Rocket Mortgage Classic||$8,400,000||$1,512,000|
|Zurich Classic of New Orleans||$8,300,000||$1,494,000|
|Sentry Tournament of Champions||$8,200,000||$1,476,000|
|Waste Management Phoenix Open||$8,200,000||$1,476,000|
|The Honda Classic||$8,000,000||$1,440,000|
|Genesis Scottish Open||$8,000,000||$1,440,000|
|The American Express||$7,600,000||$1,368,000|
|Sony Open in Hawaii||$7,500,000||$1,350,000|
|World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba||$7,200,000||$1,296,000|
|The RSM Classic||$7,200,000||$1,296,000|
|John Deere Classic||$7,100,000||$1,278,000|
|Sanderson Farms Championship||$7,000,000||$1,260,000|
|Shriners Children's Open||$7,000,000||$1,260,000|
|Puerto Rico Open||$3,700,000||$666,000|
|Corales Puntacana Championship||$3,700,000||$666,000|
How Much Prize Money Is Being Offered On The PGA Tour?
In November 2021, PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan confirmed that the PGA Tour's overall purse will increase from $367 million to $427 million for the upcoming season. That means that players will be competing for an extra $60 million through the 2021/22 PGA Tour season.
How Much Does The Average PGA Tour Pro Make?
During the 2020/21 season, the average player on the PGA Tour earned a tidy $1,485,055 for his work. However, if we were to look at the 125th ranked player in the FedEx Cup standings (Top-125 get through to the FedEx Cup playoffs) then we see that Chesson Hadley earned $940,986 for his work through the 2020/21 PGA Tour season.
Who Has Won The PGA Tour Money List Previously?
Last year Jon Rahm topped the PGA Tour's money list with $7,705,933, the year before, Justin Thomas earnt $7,344,040 for his 2019/20 season. However, these numbers are just a shade of those from 2012 - 2019. You can check out the list below.
- 2019 — Brooks Koepka, $9,684,006
- 2018 — Justin Thomas, $8,694,821
- 2017 — Justin Thomas, $9,921,560
- 2016 — Dustin Johnson, $9,365,185
- 2015 — Jordan Spieth, $12,030,465
- 2014 — Rory McIlroy, $8,280,096
- 2013 — Tiger Woods, $8,553,439
- 2012 — Rory McIlroy, $8,047,952
If we delve even further back to the period where Tiger Woods was the dominant force, then the numbers are even more impressive, especially considering the prize money wasn't as vast as it is today. Throughout the 2000's, Tiger finished top of the PGA Tour money list seven times.
- 2009 — Tiger Woods, $10,508,163
- 2007 — Tiger Woods, $10,867,052
- 2006 — Tiger Woods, $9,941,563
- 2005 — Tiger Woods, $10,628,024
- 2002 — Tiger Woods, $6,912,625
- 2001 — Tiger Woods, $5,687,777
- 2000 — Tiger Woods, $9,188,321
Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
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