Sometime Sunday evening a winner will be crowned at the 149th Open Championship, and even for the most accomplished players, their lives will change. The label “Champion Golfer of the Year” will follow them around wherever they are announced. Open Champion will be added to their hall-of-fame resume, and they’ll haul in a bunch of perks on the side.
For starters, there’s the first-place check. With no Open played last year, the purse size was understandably increased by $1 million this year, up to $11.5 million. So this year’s champion will take home the standard 18%, which comes out to $2.07 million. Quite the payday.
The obvious next trapping is one of the most famous trophies in all of golf: The Claret Jug. It’s petite, but gorgeous. And takes just one hand to hold. There’s a little crevice and a lip to drink from. Iowa-boy Zach Johnson even went so far as to use it as a corn holder. There might not be a more sought after piece of metal in all of golf.
Winners of The Open will get a gold medal, too, while the second place finisher(s) earn a silver plate. The low-amateur honoree receive a silver medal if they’ve played all four rounds. If the winner also carded the lowest round of the championship, they will also receive a medal for that distinction, too.
The physical aspects are important, for sure, but there are many obvious perks that extend beyond the trophies and medals. During a Ryder Cup year, there’s probably no more important tournament to win than the final major, which is always worth more points than the rest of the remaining events. The champ will earn a major world golf ranking boost with 100 points, which can go a long way, especially if they don’t play well in the upcoming year. That one win will keep them from plummeting down the ranking.
Look no further than Shane Lowry, who won the 2019 Open and hasn’t won since. He’s played just fine and remained in the top 50 in the world the entire time. A victory here also earns a 5-year PGA Tour exemption, a 10-year Open Championship exemption, and 5-year exemptions into all the other majors. Life is going to be good, and for awhile.