The PGA Tour raised the stakes in their standout event, and now the Players Championship has by far the largest wallet in the world of any tournament outside of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. According to a memo received by Golf Channel, players’ wallets rose from $ 15 million to $ 20 million, which is more than $ 7 million more than any of the four major wallets.
The number is overwhelming, especially when you consider that the biggest title win last season was the US Open, which paid out $ 12.5 million to everyone who made the cut in Torrey Pines in June. The PGA Championship wallet was $ 12 million while the Masters and Open Championship wallets were $ 11.5 million.
All of this, of course, pales in comparison to the Tour Championship payouts at the end of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The wallet this week was $ 46 million with Patrick Cantlay who won and made $ 15 million himself. Still, the difference in events is stark. The Tour Championship is the end of a season race, while the Players are an independent event. The most important stand-alone event on the tour, but still a stand-alone event.
To put this in perspective, it is estimated that Arnold Palmer made just over $ 3 million on the PGA Tour over the course of his career. Now the players’ winner will likely win roughly the same amount when the tournament starts in March 2022.
The tour has flexed its muscles a bit since there were reports of a potential global golf league allegedly trying to lure some of the greatest players in the world with their large cash reserves. Since all of this was a conversation piece in early 2021, the tour unveiled a $ 40 million incentive program – called the Player Impact Program – for golfers who rank high in a variety of measurable categories both online and in real-world activity such as the FedEx Cup, and now it has added $ 5 million to the wallet for its spotlight event.
It will be interesting to see what further changes come to an organization that wants to clearly differentiate itself from all competitors and would-be competitors in the future. The memo also stated that the Tournament of Champions will also receive a purse and that golfers who attend at least 15 events in a year will receive $ 50,000. If money is indeed a tempting incentive to the world’s best golfers, then the PGA Tour does a great job erasing every reason why those golfers would ever think of playing anywhere but this tour.