Golf, it seems, is awash with dosh, with millions of pounds and dollars added to the professional game’s treasure chest this week.
While it’s lining the pockets of the pros, as the Tiger factor gets to grips with the game, whether the grass roots of golf which produces our future millionaires, will see the benefit, is questionable.
Prize money at the Open Championship at Muirfield (July 18-21) will leap by 17.5 per cent to a record £3.8 million, while the US Open at Bethpage Park, New York (June 13-16) gets a $500,000 hike to $5.5 million, with a first- place prize of $1 million.
Retief Goosen captured the U.S. Open last year, posting a two-shot victory over Mark Brooks in an 18-hole playoff at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The winner of the 131st Open - last year it was David Duval - will receive £700,000, double the figure Paul Lawrie collected at Carnoustie in 1999. Any player completing 72 holes will receive £8,500 and those missing the cut will earn £2,000.
Open Championship secretary David Hill says: "We recognise the cost of competing in the championship for overseas players and have therefore put measures in place which will offset the costs for those players and will maintain the international strength of the field."
Women’s golf gets a boost, too with the Weetabix Women’s British Open at Turnberry Hotel in Ayrshire (August 8-11) now worth £1million in prizemoney, as the newly designated ‘fourth major’.
The US Women’s Open at Prairie Dunes, Hutchinson, Kansas (July 4-7) has been increased by $100,000 to $3 million, with a first prize of $535,000.
Se Ri Pak of Korea will defend her title in Scotland, where girls under 16 will get free entry. Karrie Webb has won the US title for the last two years, including an eight-shot victory over Pak in 2001.