Open winner to take home £945k of £5.25m prize fund

The winner of the Open will take home a sizeable cheque as well as the famous claret jug. Picture: Getty
The winner of the Open will take home a sizeable cheque as well as the famous claret jug. Picture: Getty
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THE PRIZE money for next month’s Open Championship has been increased to a record £5.25 million, with the winner at Muirfield set to walk away with a cheque for £945,000 as well as the Claret Jug.

The total prize pot is up £250,000 on last year’s figure at Royal Lytham, where Ernie Els received a cheque for £900,000 as he capitalised on a back-nine collapse by Adam Scott in the final round.

Els, of course, won the last Open at the East Lothian venue, in 2002, when the South African received £700,000 after winning a four-man play-off in an event that was worth £3.8m.

Reflecting an astronomical rise in prize-money in the game over the past 25 years, Nick Faldo earned a combined £170,000 for his two Open victories at Muirfield – in 1987, when the prize fund was £650,000, and 1992, when £950,000 was up for grabs.

The runner-up next month will receive £545,000, while making the cut will be worth a minimum of £12,100. If more than 70 professional golfers qualify for the final two rounds, additional prize money will be added.

As for the non-qualifiers, the leading ten professionals and ties will pocket £3,700, the next 20 and ties will get £3,000 and the remaining professionals will pick up £2,500.

The increase in prize money brings The Open in line with the three other majors – The Masters, the US Open and USPGA Championship.

Speaking in April at the media day ahead of the 142nd Open, R&A chief executive Peter Dawson said that it was “very important” that the prize fund for the world’s oldest major remained competitive with the other three events.

However, he insisted then that the were no plans to follow the significant rises in prize money introduced for tennis players this year at Wimbledon, where the All-England Club have implemented a whopping 40 per cent rise in prize money for players, bringing the total to £22.6m, with £1.6m each going to the men’s and women’s champions. “Tennis has to do what tennis has to do to be competitive within its sport,” said Dawson at the time. “Golfers at professional level are very well remunerated. I’ve never heard anything from them to say otherwise to that.”

Meanwhile, extra marshals will be in place at Gullane next Tuesday when Colin Montgomerie stages his bid to secure a place in the Muirfield line-up by competing in the Local Final Qualifying. The presence of the eight-times European No 1 is guaranteed to attract additional interest in the event and The Scotsman has learned that Gullane will have “additional marshalling on stand-by to walk with his game” when he joins the scramble for just three places up for grabs there.

Montgomerie, who lost his exemption for the event three years ago, has played only once before at Gullane – as an amateur. But he said: “I’m looking forward to the challenge and hopefully securing one of the spots.”

Here’s how the Open prize fund has increased over the years at Muirfield:

1892 £110.....amateur winner

1896 £100.........................£30

1901 £125..........................£50

1906 £125.........................£50

1912 £135..........................£50

1929 £275.........................£75

1935 £500.......................£100

1948 £1,000....................£150

1959 £5,000................£1,000

1966 £15,000...............£2,100

1972 £50,000.............£5,500

1980 £200,000.......£25,000

1987 £650,000........£75,000

1992 £950,000.......£95,000

2002 £3.8m..........£700,000