The biggest purses in professional golf come in major tournaments or events just shy of major status, all carrying big first-place prize money and the largest payouts in the sport.
The Players Championship has the biggest purse in golf as of 2020, with the PGA Tour announcing an increase to $15 million, with the winner getting a record $2.7 million. That's a $2.5 million increase over 2019.
However, after the PGA Tour announced its increase last year, the USGA announced the US Open would be tied for the biggest purse in golf, increasing the 2019 US Open purse to $12.5 million as well. It's unclear what the 2020 US Open purse will be, but it should be at least $12.5 million.
Before The Players increase in 2019, the US Open alone had the biggest purse in golf, when in 2017 the United States Golf Association increased the purse to $12 million, with the winner getting a record $2.16 million.
The Masters Tournament is tied for the third-largest purse in golf, increasing its purse in 2017 from $10 million to $11 million, with $1.98 million going to the green jacket winner. The 2019 Masters purse was $11.5 million, and it's holding pace.
The PGA Championship purse is now $11 million. While the PGA of America and the PGA Tour have tied the purses of the PGA Championship and The Players together in recent years, the PGA of America hasn't kept pace with the PGA Tour's efforts to offer the richest purse in golf. That may change, though, as the PGA of America is now in the first year of a lucrative multi-year TV deal with CBS and ESPN, offering more money to pass through to the players.
The British Open purse was $10.5 million in 2018 and increased to $10.75 million in 2019, and the price was quoted in US dollars so the prize fund would not be subject to fluctuation in the value of the British pound as the United Kingdom goes through the implications of the 2016 Brexit vote.