Open Championship chooses greenbacks over pounds

Players competing at Royal Birkdale later this month can breathe a collective sigh of relief that the economic crash that plagued the American dollar in 2008 is well and truly in their rear-view mirrors.

That’s because the winner of this year’s Auld Claret Jug will earn an unprecedented $1,845,000 in prize money, making it the biggest first-place cheque in British Open Championship history…and all in US dollars.

Henrik Stenson Henrik Stenson earned the equivalent of $1,549,590 for his victory at the 2016 Open Championship (Credit: Callaway Golf)

“We are operating in an increasingly global marketplace and have made the decision to award the prize fund in US dollars in recognition of the fact that it is the most widely-adopted currency for prizemoney in golf,” said R&A CEO Martin Slumbers.

The prize money will be handed out from a purse of $10,250,000, with second-place alone worth $1,067,000.

Converting from pounds to dollars, the overall purse for the Open Championship at Royal Troon in 2016 and St. Andrews in 2015 was $9.3 million and $9.2 million, respectively.

Swede Henrik Stenson earned the equivalent of $1,549,590 for his victory a year ago while American Zach Johnson took home $1,794,690 for his playoff triumph at the Home of Golf, St Andrews.

The British Open purse moves the tournament just slightly ahead of the $10 million given out at the Masters in April, although Sergio Garcia earned more for the victory ($1,980,000) than the Open winner will receive.

The PGA Championship also gave out $10 million in 2016 with $1.8 million going to Jimmy Walker.

The US Open’s purse bump to $12 million overall at Erin Hills, made it the richest of the four majors, with a cool $US2.16m going into American Brooks Koepka’s bank account.