August 15, 2023

What Does Purse Mean In Golf

Do you ever wonder what those big numbers next to a golfer’s name mean? Well, you’re in luck! In this article, we’ll dive into the world of golf purses and unravel the mystery behind them.

From the history of golf purses to how they are determined, we’ll explore their significance and the impact they have on players.

Get ready to discover some notable golf purses in history and even peek into future trends.

So, grab your clubs, and let’s tee off into the world of golf purses, but first:

What DOES Purse Mean In Golf?

The purse in golf refers to the amount of prize money that is awarded to the winners of a tournament.

History of Golf Purses

In the early days of golf, the purses for tournaments were significantly smaller compared to today. Back then, golf was still a relatively new sport and hadn’t gained as much popularity or prestige as it has now. As a result, the prize money paid for winning tournaments was relatively modest. The first professional golf tournament in the United States, held in 1895, had a purse of only $335. Adjusted for inflation, that amount would be equivalent to around $10,000 today.

As golf grew in popularity and more players began competing professionally, the purses for tournaments started to increase. By the mid-20th century, the prize money for major golf tournaments had reached six-figure sums. This upward pay trend continued, and today, the purses for professional golf tournaments can be in the millions of dollars.

The increase in golf purses can be attributed to a variety of factors. The growing popularity of the sport, the influx of corporate sponsorships, and the rise of television coverage have all contributed to the increase in prize money. Additionally, the success of professional golfers as brand ambassadors and the global reach of the sport has also played a role in attracting lucrative sponsorships and endorsements.

As a result, professional golfers now have the opportunity to earn substantial amounts of money through tournament winnings and endorsements, making it a highly lucrative profession.

How Golf Purses Are Determined

Determining golf purses involves considering various factors such as player world rankings and tournament sponsorships. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Player Rankings: The higher a player’s ranking, the more likely they are to receive a larger share of the purse. Rankings indicate a player’s skill level and their ability to attract viewers and sponsors. Top-ranked players often negotiate higher appearance fees and endorsement deals, which can also impact their share of the purse.
  2. Tournament Sponsorships: The financial backing of sponsors plays a significant role in determining the size of the purse. Sponsors contribute a substantial amount of money to the tournament, and a portion of that goes toward the prize money. The more sponsors a tournament has, the larger the purse is likely to be.
  3. Tournament Revenue: The revenue generated from ticket sales, television rights, merchandise, and other sources also contributes to the purse. Tournaments with higher revenue can afford to offer larger purses.
  4. Historical Significance: Some tournaments have a long-standing tradition of offering substantial purses. These prestigious events attract top players and generate significant interest, which allows them to maintain larger purses year after year.

Determining golf purses is a complex process that takes into account player rankings, tournament sponsorships, revenue, and historical significance of tour events. By considering these factors, professional tournament organizers strive to create a fair and lucrative prize pool for the players.

Significance of Golf Purses

In analyzing the significance of golf purses, it is important to consider the prize money breakdown and its impact on player motivation.

The distribution of prize money among the top finishers in a tournament can greatly influence a player’s drive to perform at their best. Understanding how the top purse money in four major tournaments is divided and the potential financial gains can serve as a strong motivational factor for golfers, pushing them to compete at a higher level and strive for victory.

Prize Money Breakdown

Understanding how the prize money in tour championship is distributed can give you insights into the competitiveness and prestige of a particular golf event. Here are four key points to consider:

  1. Distribution: The purse is divided among the top finishers in a tournament, with the winner typically receiving the largest share.
  2. Growth: The size of the purse has increased significantly over the years due to sponsorships and television rights deals, reflecting the growing popularity of the sport.
  3. Major Championships: Golf’s major tournaments, such as the Masters and the U.S. Open, offer the largest purses, attracting the world’s best golfers.
  4. Equality: The purses in women’s golf have seen a steady increase, although they still tend to be smaller than those in the men’s game. Efforts are being made to bridge this gap and promote equality in prize money.

Knowing the breakdown of the purse can give you a deeper understanding of the financial dynamics and significance of a golf tournament.

Financial Implications for Tournaments

You can’t underestimate the financial implications that tournaments have on the sport of golf. Tournaments, with their substantial purses, play a vital role in shaping the professional golf landscape.

The purse refers to the prize money that is up for grabs in a tournament. As a golfer, participating in tournaments offers you the opportunity to compete for a share of this significant financial reward. The size of the total purse often varies depending on the tournament, with major championships often offering the largest amounts.

Winning a tournament not only brings prestige and recognition but also a substantial financial windfall. However, it’s important to note that the financial implications of tournaments extend beyond just the winners. The vast majority of prize money is distributed among the top finishers, providing a much-needed income source for professional golfers and contributing to their livelihoods.

Tournaments truly have a profound impact on the financial well-being of golfers and their ability to pursue their passion for the game.

Notable Golf Purses in History

If you’re a golf enthusiast, you’ll be interested to know about some of the notable golf purses in history. These large cash prizes have been awarded to the winners of prestigious golf tournaments, the four major championships and they often reflect the significance and popularity of the event.

Here are four examples of impressive male golfers’ purses that have made headlines:

  1. $2.07 million – The Masters Tournament in 2019 offered this impressive purse, with the winner taking home a substantial chunk of the prize money. This tournament is known for its tradition and prestige, attracting top players from around the world.
  2. $2.25 million – The U.S. Open in 2019 boasted this hefty purse, making it one of the most lucrative golf tournaments in the world. With its challenging courses and rich history, the U.S. Open consistently attracts top talent and captures the attention of golf fans everywhere.
  3. $2.5 million – The PGA Tour in 2020 raised the bar with this substantial purse for the PGA Championship, solidifying its reputation as one of the premier events in professional golf. Known for its tough competition and thrilling finishes, the PGA Championship offers a significant reward for the victor.
  4. $3.5 million – The Open Championship in 2019 featured this jaw-dropping purse, making it one of the most lucrative golf tournaments of all time. With its rich history and international appeal, the Open Championship consistently delivers high stakes and intense competition.

These notable pro golfers’ purses not only demonstrate the financial rewards available in the sport but also highlight the global popularity and competitiveness of professional golf.

Future Trends in Golf Purses

Looking ahead, it’s fascinating to consider the potential future trends in the size and significance of cash prizes awarded to tournament winners. As the popularity of golf continues to grow, so do the financial rewards for the players. It’s safe to say that the trend of increasing golf purses will continue in the future.

With advancements in technology and media coverage, golf tournaments are reaching a broader audience than ever before. This increased exposure translates into higher revenue streams, allowing tournament organizers to offer larger cash prizes. Additionally, sponsors are becoming more involved, injecting even more money into the sport.

Furthermore, the impact of globalization cannot be ignored. Golf is becoming increasingly popular in countries such as China and India, where the middle class is rapidly expanding. This means more potential golfers and more fans, which ultimately leads to bigger purses to reward players.

However, it’s important to consider the potential backlash that could arise from such large cash prizes. Some argue that it could lead to an unhealthy obsession with money and detract from the core values of the sport. It will be crucial for golf’s governing bodies to strike a balance between financial rewards and maintaining the integrity of the game.


In conclusion, golf purses have a rich history and play a significant role in the sport. They are determined based on various factors like tournament prestige and sponsorship.

The impact of golf purses on players earnings is immense, as they provide motivation and financial stability. One interesting statistic to note is that the highest recorded golf purse in history was $15 million for the 2019 Players Championship.

This shows the increasing popularity and financial growth of the sport, making it more enticing for both players and fans alike.


  1. “History of Golf,” Wikipedia
  2. “Professional Golfers’ Association of America,” Wikipedia
  3. “Golf Sponsorships and Endorsements,” Investopedia
  4. “Golf’s Gender Pay Gap: The Fight for Equality,” BBC Sport
  5. “The Players Championship,” Wikipedia
  6. “The Economics of Golf: Revenue, Sponsorships, and the Future,” Forbes
  7. “The Masters Tournament,” Wikipedia
  8. “U.S. Open (golf),” Wikipedia
  9. “PGA Championship,” Wikipedia

About the author 

Linda Parker

My name is Linda Parker, I’ve been around golf since I was born, and I’ve been golfing since I was four years old!

I’m here to share my love of the game with you, so please do let me know if you have any questions!

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