Players purse: Record payout, winner’s check on the line at Players Championship

The 2023 Players Championship boasts a record purse and winner's check. Here's how much money is on the line at TPC Sawgrass.

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If you think the PGA Tour’s new designated events offer big-time payouts, just wait until you see what the Players Championship is dishing out this week.

The PGA Tour’s flagship event kicked off on Thursday at TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., with 144 players in the field.

They’re playing for a ton of money, too. The Players purse is a record $25 million, with the winner getting a whopping $4.5 million. That’s significantly more than what the Tour’s previous three designated events have competed for this year. The Players is the Tour’s fifth designated event this season, and the previous three full-field tournaments (not counting the Sentry Tournament of Champions) have boasted $20 million purses and $3.6 million to the winners.

The Players’ $25 million purse and $4.5 million winner’s payout are both PGA Tour regular-season records, and they reflect a massive recent increase in Players payouts.

The Players purse fluctuated between $10-12.5 million from 2014 to 2019 before jumping to $15 million in 2021. (The 2020 Players also had a $15 million purse, but that event was canceled due to Covid-19.)

Last year’s purse jumped $5 million to $20 million — with Cameron Smith winning $3.6 million for his victory — and now it’s increased by yet another $5 million. For those keeping track at home, that’s a $10 million purse increase in just two years.

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Last month, the Tour’s rival, LIV Golf, completed its first event of its second season, with Charles Howell III winning the $4 million top prize out of the $20 million individual purse.

Asked on Tuesday if it took LIV Golf’s arrival to help rewrite the PGA Tour’s playbook, commissioner Jay Monahan rattled off a lengthy rebuttal.

“At that time we announced increased purses in our events, the events that we’re yielding this year. It’s really important to note that back in that timeframe we were also in the midst of extending our domestic media rights deals, and those didn’t take effect until the beginning of 2022,” Monahan said. “In running a business, you can only spend the money you generate. For us, that was a big moment for the PGA Tour, and when you think about how the resources have been allocated, that comes from the great loyal membership that we have on the PGA Tour, their incredible talents, their commitment to the model, to the meritocracy of the PGA Tour and the game, to the corporate partners that we have that support all of our tournaments, to the communities where we make such a huge impact, to our fans who want to see more of our — all these things really come as a result of the business having these changes that we could reinvest in our product.”

Rory McIlroy had a slightly different answer, though.

“I’m not going to sit here and lie; I think the emergence of LIV or the emergence of a competitor to the PGA Tour has benefited everyone that plays elite professional golf,” he said. “I think when you’ve been the biggest golf league in the biggest market in the world for the last 60 years, there’s not a lot of incentive to innovate.”

So about that money. The winner gets $4.5 million, but the top-five finishers all grab seven-figure checks. Let that sink in. The runner-up takes $2.725 million, 3rd $1.725 million, 4th $1.225 million and 5th $1.025 million. Even 14th place, for example, gets nearly a half-million dollars ($481,250).

The Players will have a cut after 36 holes with the top 65 golfers and ties advancing to the weekend. Sixty-fifth place pays out $53,750.

Josh Berhow Editor

Josh Berhow is the managing editor at The Minnesota native graduated with a journalism degree from Minnesota State University in Mankato. You can reach him at