Masters Prize Money: How Much Golfers Make

How much money do golfers make when they win the Masters? First place takes $1.8 million in prize money. The rest gets split up according to the table below. Every player is guaranteed at least $10,000 no matter their standing.

In 1986, Jack Nicklaus made $144,000 for winning the Masters. Since then, golf’s top tournament has added about 8.7% per year to its first place purse. Jordan Spieth won the biggest Masters prize in history in 2015 with $1.8 million. That number remains the same in 2016.

Depending on place, golfers in the masters make different amounts of prize money. In 2016, there’s a total purse of $10 million. The first place golfer makes 18% of that money or $1.8 million. The second place golfer makes 10.8% or $1.08 million. Third place makes 6.8% or $680,000. The percentages end with .252% for 50th place or $25,200. After that, every golfer gets $10,000.

How Much Money Golfers Made when they Won the Masters: 1986 to 2016

The table below shows how much money golfers made when they won the Masters from 1986 through 2016. Either way it’s a lot of prize money for a week of golf. That said, Masters prize money has come a long way. Even adjusting for inflation, Jack Nicklaus’ historic 1986 Masters money would only be worth $311,000 in 2016 dollars. That’s an 83% increase in 40 years. Jordan Spieth took home the biggest Masters pot yet in 2015 when the first prize money grew to $1.8 million. This year he’s in an excellent position to repeat that performance, though a lot can happen by tournament’s end on 4/10/16.

How Much Money Golfers Make when they Win the Masters (Through Time)
Masters prize money 1986 Jack Nicklaus$144,000
Masters prize money 1987 Larry Mize$162,000
Masters prize money 1988 Sandy Lyle$183,000
Masters prize money 1989 Nick Faldo$200,000
Masters prize money 1990 Nick Faldo$225,000
Masters prize money 1991 Ian Woosnam$243,000
Masters prize money 1992 Fred Couples$270,000
Masters prize money 1993 Bernhard Langer$306,000
Masters prize money 1994 Jose Maria Olazabal$360,000
Masters prize money 1995 Ben Crenshaw$396,000
Masters prize money 1996 Nick Faldo$450,000
Masters prize money 1997 Tiger Woods$486,000
Masters prize money 1998 Mark O'Meara$576,000
Masters prize money 1999 Jose Maria Olazabal$720,000
Masters prize money 2000 Vijay Singh$828,000
Masters prize money 2001 Tiger Woods$1,008,000
Masters prize money 2002 Tiger Woods$1,008,000
Masters prize money 2003 Mike Weir$1,080,000
Masters prize money 2004 Phil Mickelson$1,170,000
Masters prize money 2005 Tiger Woods$1,260,000
Masters prize money 2006 Phil Mickelson$1,260,000
Masters prize money 2007 Zach Johnson$1,305,000
Masters prize money 2008 Trevor Immelman$1,305,000
Masters prize money 2009 Angel Cabrera$1,305,000
Masters prize money 2010 Phil Mickelson$1,305,000
Masters prize money 2011 Charl Schwartzel$1,440,000
Masters prize money 2012 Bubba Watson$1,440,000
Masters prize money 2013 Adam Scott$1,440,000
Masters prize money 2014 Bubba Watson$1,620,000
Masters prize money 2015 Jordan Spieth$1,800,000
Masters prize money 2016TBD 4/10/16$1,800,000

Also see: Tiger Woods Net Worth: Why It’s Not a Billion Yet

How Much Money Golfers Make when they Win the Masters: 2016

For 2016, the first place golf Masters prize money sits at $1.8 million. Jordan Spieth heartbreakingly lost first place to Danny Willett in the final round. Willett made $1.8 million. Speith and Lee Westwood tied for second and split the 2nd and 3rd place prize money with $880,000 each.

The table below shows how the Masters prize money breaks out.

Masters Place 2016
Current Standings
1$1,800,000Danny Willett
T2$880,000Jordan Spieth
T2$880,000Lee Westwood
T4$413,333Paul Casey
T4$413,333J. B. Holmes
T4$413,333Dustin Johnson
T7311666.6667Matthew Fitzpatrick
T7$311,667Soren Kjeldsen
T7$311,667Hideki Matsuyama

How is the Masters Prize Money Split?

Golf Masters Prize MoneyIn 2016, the Masters has a purse of $10 million. Golfers in the masters make money according to the following rules:

Every player is guaranteed at least $10,000. The top 50 split the rest depending on their standing. #1 gets 18% or $1.8 million. Golfter #2 gets 10.8% or $1.08 million and so on. Player #50 gets .252% or $25,200. After that it’s $10,000 each.

Naturally the players don’t fall so easily into first, second and third place and so on. Since golf is a scoring game with lots of players in each tournament, there are lots of ties. Several players will wind up in second place together. Same with third, fourth, fifth and so on. When that happens, the money for the tied players is pooled and split up evenly. For instance, in 2016 the money for 10th, 11th and 12th place is $270,000, $250,000 and $230,000 respectively. If three players tie for 10th place, all that money is added up and split three ways. Each of the tied players would get $250,000.

Masters Rank
Prize Money Percentage
Masters Prize Money

Also see: Lydia Ko Earnings and Net Worth

Masters 1st Prize Money Will Hit $6 Million by 2031

We did a little trend analysis and learned that the 1st place golf Masters prize money has grown by 8.7% per year since 1986. Continuing that trend, 1st place will take over $6 million in 2031. The table below shows the first place purse if it grows by 8.7% each year for the next 15 years.

Masters Winner Money

The Million Dollar Masters Shot

There’s a viral video being passed around on Facebook that shows Vijay Singh sinking an incredible pond skipping shot. The walk-on-water moment is actually from 2009. Surprisingly to many, skipping a ball on water is something of a tradition at the Masters. Attempting the miracle shot is common enough that fans chant, “Skip! Skip! Skip!” if a water hazard gets in a golfer’s way. The 16th hole at Augusta is a prime spot for the stunt, since the tee and the green are divided by a narrow strip of water. Skipping balls on water in that spot is so common that many golfers who don’t skip get booed by the crowd.

Also see: How Much Money Does an NBA Player Make?

Jack Nicklaus: 6 Time Masters Champion

Jack Nicklaus MastersJack Nicklaus has won the Masters six times. That’s the most any golfer has taken home the Masters top purse. Nicklaus won $144,000 for his 6th win in 1986.

Nicklaus may have reached curmudgeon status and genius status simultaneously on 4/8/16. That’s when he announced a brilliant solution to a growing problem. We’ll give you the problem first and see if you hit on the same solution. The trouble with golf these days is, the athletes are outgrowing the courses. Golfers are hitting longer and longer drives and playing better and better. Why is that a problem? Tournaments like the Masters are built on differentiating golfers by their scores. When the golfers are all getting on the green in one shot, what divides golf from a high stakes game of mini golf without the windmills? The solution so far has been for courses to spend millions upon millions elongating their holes. As drives get ever longer, only a very few courses can keep up the pace of the expansion. Golf as a spectator sport is threatening to get a lot more boring. Instead of asking, “How much money does a golfer make if he wins the Masters?” people will start asking, “How much do golfers make if ten of them tie for first place?”

So here’s Jack Nicklaus’ “Aha” idea: Don’t change the courses. Change the ball. More specifically, he said, “Change the frigging golf ball.” That one simple change could singlehandedly change the game of golf. A deader ball would shorten drives. It would also mean a ton of money saved in course expansion costs.

Nick Faldo 1st Place Masters Prize Money: $875,000

Nick Faldo won the Masters three times for a total purse of $875,000. The golf master won in two consecutive years: 1989 and 1990. He came back for his third win in 1996 and took home $450,000. Only two golfers have won the Masters more times than that: Jack Nicklaus (6 times), Arnold Palmer (4 times) and Tiger Woods (4 times).

Nick Faldo may not have won the Masters since ’96 but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t still have the juice. On 4/7/16, Faldo pulled off the astounding putt below. The putt has been likened to a shot from Happy Gilmore.

Tiger Woods 1st Place Masters Prize Money: $3,762,000

Tiger Woods has won the Masters four times and made $3.762 million. His first win came in 1997 with $486,000. Back to back wins in 2001 and 2002 brought him $1,008,000 each. His final win (so far?) in 2005 netted him $1.26 million in prize money. Woods remains the golfer who has won the most golf masters prize money in history.

Woods is still one of the highest paid athletes in history. Reportedly, he earned $50.6 million in 2014. Only $600,000 came from golf, while the other $50 million came from product endorsement deals.

The EA Sports ad below hilariously shows a theory for why Woods was such a phenom in the world of golf.

Related: How Much Money Do You Make if You Win the Super Bowl?

Phil Mickelson Masters 1st Place Prize Money: $3,735,000

Phil Mickelson has won nearly as much Masters money as Tiger Woods with $3.735 million. Mickelson won $1.17 million in 2004, $1.26 million in 2006 and $1.35 million in 2010.

Phil Mickelson is by no means a golf past master. He not only competed in the 2015 Masters, but he finished second. That gave him another $880,000 in Masters Prize money.

Mickelson is currently tied for 20th place in the Masters 2016. In the clip below from before the tournament, he discusses what it takes to win.