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Payday at Augusta

A brief history of the Masters prize money payout

Masters 2023

during the final round of the 2023 Masters Tournament held in Augusta, GA at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday, April 9, 2023.

J.D. Cuban

If there’s any tournament in golf where how much the winner makes in prize money is ancillary to everything else that comes with claiming the title, it’s the Masters. The legacy of being one of the select golfers to own a green jacket and with it a spot in the Champions locker room, a seat at the Champions Dinner and a place in golf history, is worth more than the payout that winds up in their bank account—even with the staggering amounts that are being paid out at majors these days.

Make no mistake, however, those who shake the Augusta National chairman’s hand in Butler Cabin at the conclusion of the tournament earn an impressive financial reward.

As the rise of LIV Golf and the mega-million-dollar purse has caused the PGA Tour to counter with its own $20 million signature events, prize money records are falling all over the place. The question is whether the majors can keep up, given that their purses turn out to be lower than other "regular" tour events on the two rival circuits.

Truth be told, it’s actually a matter of “catching” up, which is exactly what the Masters has been doing for the past few years. In 2020 and 2021, the Masters payout was $11.5 million, with the winner earning $2.07 million. It jumped to $15 million and $2.7 million for Scottie Scheffler in 2022, then $18 million in 2023, with Jon Rahm claiming $3.24 million for his win. Potentially, the tournament will increase the purse again this year, but nothing official will likely be announced until a cut is made during tournament week.

Currently, the Masters trails the U.S. Open ($20 million overall purse) but pays out a bit more than the PGA Championship ($17.5 million) in terms of men’s majors with the largest purses. (The Open Championship paid $16.5 million in 2023, up $2.5 million from 2022.) All the majors are currently dwarfed by the Players Championship, which paid out $25 million in March with winner Scottie Scheffler earning $4.5 million.

tiger-woods-2019-masters-trophy-green-jacket.jpg

Tiger Woods claimed Masters win No. 5 in 2019.

Andrew Redington

With Tiger Woods expected to play again this week, and with his celebrated Masters career, it is interesting to track how much the five-time green jacket winner has made during his career at Augusta. Here’s a breakdown of his Masters prize money payout each year he's competed as a professional:

1997: Win, $486,000
1998: T-8, $89,600
1999: T-18, $52,160
2000: 5, $184,000
2001: Win, $1,008,000
2002: Win, $1,008,000
2003: T-15, $93,000
2004: T-22, $70,200
2005: Win, $1,260,000
2006: T-3, $315,700
2007: T-2, $541,333
2008: 2, $810,000
2009: T-6, $242,813
2010: T-4, $330,000
2011: T-4, $330,667
2012: T-40, $32,000
2013: T-4, $352,000
2015: T-17, $155,000
2018: T-32, $63,663
2019: Win, $2,070,000
2020: T-38, $50,600
2022: 47th, $43,500

(A note about last year: As you might recall, Tiger made the cut but withdrew ahead of the start of the third round, earning $10,000 that's unofficial in terms of PGA Tour prize money but is still counted by the Masters in its overall totals, lifting him to $9.598 million for his career.)

Woods was the career money leader in Masters history but got passed in 2023 when Phil Mickelson finished T-2 and pushed his all-time total to $9,773,317 with Jordan Spieth in third place with $6,015,828.

Here’s a look at the top 20 on the Masters career money list along with some notable past champions and where they shake out:

Masters career money leaders
1: Phil Mickelson $9,773,317 (30 starts)
2: Tiger Woods $9,598,236 (25)
3: Jordan Spieth $6,015,828 (10)
4: Jon Rahm, 5,063,017 (7)
5: Dustin Johnson $4,627,235 (13)
6: Justin Rose $4,403,765 (18)
7: Rory McIlroy $4,167,521 (15)
8: Bubba Watson $4,121,765 (15)
9: Hideki Matsuyama $3,948,867 (12)
10: Adam Scott $3,858.307 (22)
11: Lee Westwood $3,687,748 (21)
12: Patrick Reed $3,627,851 (10)
13: Angel Cabrera $3,528,357 (20)
14: Scottie Scheffler, $3,437,325 (4)
15: Sergio Garcia $3,437,325 (24)
16: Brooks Koepka, $3,224,284 (8)
17: Charl Schwartzel $2,997,281 (14)
18: Fred Couples $2,850,601 (38)
19: Cameron Smith, $2,716,668 (7)
17: Vijay Singh $2,637,805 (30)

Other Notables
Jack Nicklaus, $748,359
Gary Player, $239,552
Arnold Palmer, $139,163.33
Sam Snead, $50,881.25
Ben Hogan, $32,735
Byron Nelson, $15,686.99
Gene Sarazen, $7,077.25

And here’s the evolution of how much the champion has earned over the years:

1934: $1,500
1935: $1,500
1936: $1,500
1937: $1,500
1938: $1,500
1939: $1,500
1940: $1,500
1941: $1,500
1942: $1,500
1943-’45: No Masters (WWII)
1946: $2,500
1947: $2,500
1948: $2,500
1949: $2,750
1950: $2,400
1951: $3,000
1952: $4,000
1953: $4,000
1954: $5,000
1955: $5,000
1956: $6,000
1957: $8,750
1958: $11,250
1959: $15,000
1960: $17,500
1961: $20,000
1962: $20,000
1963: $20,000
1964: $20,000
1965: $20,000
1966: $20,000
1967: $20,000
1968: $20,000
1969: $20,000
1970: $25,000
1971: $25,000
1972: $25,000
1973: $30,000
1974: $35,000
1975: $40,000
1976: $40,000
1977: $40,000
1978: $45,000
1979: $50,000
1980: $55,000
1981: $60,000
1982: $64,000
1983: $90,000
1984: $108,000
1985: $126,000
1986: $144,000
1987: $162,000
1988: $183,800
1989: $200,000
1990: $225,000
1991: $243,000
1992: $270,000
1993: $306,000
1994: $360,000
1995: $396,000
1996: $450,000
1997: $486,000
1998: $576,000
1999: $720,000
2000: $828,000
2001: $1,008,000
2002: $1,008,000
2003: $1,080,000
2004: $1,117,000
2005: $1,260,000
2006: $1,260,000
2007: $1,305,000
2008: $1,350,000
2009: $1,350,000
2010: $1,350,000
2011: $1,440,000
2012: $1,440,000
2013: $1,440,000
2014: $1,620,000
2015: $1,800,000
2016: $1,800,000
2017: $1,980,000
2018: $1,980,000
2019: $2,070,000
2020: $2,070,000
2021: $2,070,000
2022: $2,700,000
2023: $3,240,000

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