A major reason THE PLAYERS Championship was able to attract the top 50 golfers in the world is its incredible purse. According to Golf.com, the 2018 purse set a tournament record with a $11 million total purse. The winning golfer is awarded $1.98 million. Even second place is awarded over a million dollars at $1.188 million. In ESPN’s Michael Collin’s Caddie Confidential, an anonymous caddie admitted the purse was the best thing about the tournament.
“[The Best thing about THE PLAYERS Championship] The purse [$11 million],” the caddie told ESPN. “Yeah, the money…And it’s a course that any player can win on. You have to have patience. So if you have a player who doesn’t have a lot of patience, it’s tough on the caddie to get them to hit the right clubs off certain tees.”
The PLAYERS no longer has the largest purse, but does have the biggest purse for a non-major. SB Nation details the arms race among tournaments.
For years The Players boasted the richest purse in golf. That title has jumped around recently as the arms race between majors intensified, purse sizes started to become a thing more people talked about, and a flood of TV money buttressed the hosting golf organizations. In late 2013, it was big news when the PGA Tour and PGA of America made the joint move to bump the purses of their two marquee events, The Players and the PGA Championship, to $10 million. They even held a press conference for it!
Since then, all the majors have shot past that $10 million mark and now even the damn WGCs have $10M purses. The “richest purse” in golf title has changed hands a few times and now rests with the U.S. Open, which made the signficant jump from $10 to $12 million last year.
THE PLAYERS is often referred to as the “fifth major”, and its prize money matches up with the top majors. The top two PLAYERS finishers will make the same money as they would at the Masters. Jordan Spieth, whose struggles at Sawgrass over the years have been well documented, admitted the tournament is more difficult than some of the majors.
“We look at this tournament up there in about equal value with the major championships,” Spieth told the PGA Tour. “The only thing that holds it away from being a major is simply people jotting down how many majors people won. I mean, it is one of the toughest tests in golf, with potentially the best field in golf. I think it is the best golf in all of golf. If you win here, you can win anywhere else. There is no added thing that any other tournament brings that this tournament doesn’t have. Therefore, guys like Rickie [Fowler], who kind of catches some slack for having not won a major yet, essentially he’s won what’s harder to win than a major: THE PLAYERS.”
Here’s the full breakdown of the prize money for the top 50 golfers at THE PLAYERS for 2018 courtesy of Golf.com.
THE PLAYERS Championship Purse 2018
Source: Heavy Sports