In 2014, the PGA Championship (in conjunction with The Players Championship) increased its purse to $10 million, making it the most lucrative major championship. The Masters announced this year that it would match the $10 million purse with $1.8 million going to the winner. The 2015 U.S. Open then joined the party as did the British Open and awarded $1.8 million to the winner of the Claret Jug.
The purse is the biggest in Open Championship history with the winning share increased from the $1.66 million Rory McIlroy took home in 2014 at Royal Liverpool. The total purse for the 2015 event increased a little more than $800,000, jumping from $9.19 million last year to $10 million this year. The British Open is arguably the most prestigious championship in golf and now its purse matches that of the other majors and The Players.
Spieth was chasing his third major championship of the season, which would have made him just the second player to ever accomplish that feat. The 21-year-old Spieth had already claimed $8.7 million in on-course earnings this season. That’s over $4 million more than any other player. A win at St. Andrews would have seen Spieth earn more than $10.5 million in prize money this season. No player, since Tiger Woods won $10.5million in 2009, has topped $10 million on the money list.
Had Paul Dunne or any other amateur won The Open the first-place money would not have gone to the second-place finisher. The R&A made the following announcement on the Monday morning:
The Championship Committee has made the following decision in relation to prize money at The 144th Open. This decision is specific to The 144th Open and does not bind future Committees.
The Open is a stand alone championship and the Championship Committee does not believe that first place prize money should be paid to a second place finisher. Amateur players are not eligible to win prize money and therefore, should an amateur have won The 144th Open first place prize money would have been distributed proportionately among the professional players who have made the cut.