Unlocking Golf’s Treasure: What Does ‘Purse’ Mean in Golf?

What does purse mean in golf? Understand its significance and how it influences player’s earnings in tournaments.

Although the word “purse” sounds familiar, what does it signify in golf? It’s possible that many keen golf spectators have heard the phrase while watching golf but do not really know what is a purse in golf. Let us understand it in detail alongside how it works in golf.

I. What does purse mean in golf? 

In golf, “purse” implies the total prize money available in a tournament, which is often sponsored by a company or organization. Players compete for a share of the purse based on their performance.

The distribution of prize money is determined by the tournament organizers. It also improves the player’s reputation in the sport.

II. Source of purse money

The purse money in golf is derived from various sources. Corporate sponsorships from companies, broadcasting rights deals, and revenue generated from ticket sales are the primary contributors.

These monetary investments add up to form the purse, which is then divided among the tournament participants based on their performance, with the winner typically receiving the largest share. Sponsors generate revenue from sources such as advertising, parking, and concessions.

III. How does the purse work in golf?

The primary motive of the purse is to reward the golfers for their efforts as well as to keep them motivated and competitive. The purse is divided among the players based on their finishing position.

Distribution of purse

The purse amount is proportional to the position of the players. 

  • The winner receives the largest purse share, which is 18%
  • The second position receives 10.8 % of the purse
  • The Third place receives 6.8% of purse money
  • It is then further distributed to 4th to 10th place by 4.8%, 4%, 3.6%, 3.35%, 3.1%, 2.9% and 2.7% respectively.
  • The percentage continues to fall until 70th place, earning 0.2% share. 

The purses for major championships such as the PGA Championship tend to be the highest. Standard PGA Tour events have varying purse sizes as well, with higher-profile tournaments typically having larger prize funds.

IV. How Are Golf Purses Determined?

The distribution of the purse in golf events is typically determined by the tournament organizers or the governing bodies. They usually have set percentages and formulas that allocate the prize money based on the scores.

Moreover, there are other factors that are also considered. The amount of money awarded to players is influenced by several elements:

  • The sponsors create a huge impact on the revenue of the tournament. If the tournament gains more sponsors, the purse prize is more likely to be higher.
  • Television broadcasting rights are an important factor in determining a tournament’s revenue. Increased viewership and improved broadcasting agreements can result in increased sponsorship and, as a result, a larger purse.
  • The earnings from ticket sales at the tournament go towards the prize fund. More audiences generate more money.
  • Tournaments with a long history, tradition, and cultural significance can attract more attention, and, as a result, revenue increases.
  • Top-ranked golfers attract more viewers, which results in more income.

V. The Evolution of Prize Money in Golf Throughout History

Currently, compared to other sports, golf offers the largest purse throughout the world. The purse in golf has changed dramatically over the span of its history. 

  1. Early years of golf

In the initial years, golf was an emerging sport that had not yet gained popularity. Consequently, the purse money awarded to tournament players was modest. In 1895, the first professional golf tournament in the United States had a purse of only $335. Prize money for major golf tournaments reached six figures by the mid-twentieth century. 

  1. Present scenario

Nevertheless, golf is now known and played worldwide. The increased popularity and audience have resulted in a hike in the purse amount. According to an article in Forbes, “The PGA tour purses have grown exponentially since 1970.” The other factors that pushed the purse amount to new heights are sponsorships, endorsements, and the expansion of the broadcasting of golf events.

Today, the evaluation of the PGA championship is $17.5 million, with the winner receiving $3.15 million and the Wanamaker Trophy. The top three finishers receive more than a million dollars each.

VI. The Impact of a Large Purse on Golfers’ Motivation and Performance

The impact of a large purse on golfers’ motivation and performance is noteworthy. Managing the challenging accessory can be a psychological distraction, reducing focus and concentration on the game. Golfers may experience a decrease in motivation and overall enjoyment.

A large purse is one of the significant reasons behind better performance and also fosters a positive mindset. Furthermore, the possibility of significant earnings boosts players’ psychological strength. Monetary rewards on the golf course inspire incredible achievements.

VII. Notable Golf Purses in History

Several golf tournaments have offered significant purses throughout history, reflecting the sport’s growing importance and popularity. Let us look at a few notable purses:

1.  The Masters

  • Held annually at Augusta National Golf Club.
  • Offered a record-breaking lump sum of $3,240,000.
  • Jon Rahm bagged the highest purse prize.

 2. The Open Championship

  • An esteemed golf championship with a global presence
  • Offers $16,500,000 as prize money.
  • American Brian Harman was the winner of the 2023 Open Championship.

 3. PGA Championship

  • One of golf’s major championships has a rich history.
  • Provides a prize of $17,500,000.
  • Brooks Koepka became the PGA Championship’s first $3 million-plus winner.

 4. U.S. Open

  • Major championships with a history of significant purses
  • Considered the toughest test of any tournament
  • Provides $20,000,000 as a monetary prize.


Golf purses have a long history and play an important role in the game. They are determined by a variety of factors. The purse is an important aspect of professional golf because it attracts top talent and raises the stakes in prestigious tournaments. It reflects the sport’s global appeal as well as the acknowledgment of players’ skill and dedication.


1. What is the winning purse for the PGA Championship in 2023?

The winning purse for the PGA Championship in 2023 is $1.53 million, which was won by Ryan Fox.

2. What golf tournament has the biggest purse?

Technically, the Tour Championship has the largest purse ($70 million) and winner’s share ($18 million).

3. Do golfers split the purse if they tie?

If two golfers are tied for first place, the money they would have earned for those positions is totaled and divided equally among the number of players tied.

4. Do golfers get paid if they miss the cut?

No. They do not get paid if they miss the cut. 

5. What is the largest purse on the PGA Tour?

The PGA Tour’s largest purse is $4 million.

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