UPDATE: Rory McIlroy won by two strokes to take the top prize.
Following the lead of the Masters and U.S. Open, the R&A has also significantly increased their purse for the 2014 British Open. The total purse is £5.4, or $9.19 million, and the winner's check will be £975,000 ($1.66 million).
The increase in prize money at the Masters, U.S. Open, and British Open, is largely in response to the move made last year by the PGA of America and PGA Tour. In November, Ted Bishop and Tim Finchem held a joint press conference stating that they would bump the purse at their marquee events up to $10 million. That's a 20 percent increase over the 2013 PGA Championship purse and it was a $500k bump at the The Players, which always boasts the richest purse in golf.
British Open 2014
That upset the 2013 balance, when all four majors paid out the exact same purse. So not to be slighted, the boys at Augusta bumped their purse over $9 million and wrote a $1.62M check to Bubba Watson. The USGA did the same at Pinehurst. Now, the R&A, perhaps thanks to the generous conversion rate, will hand out slightly more than those first two majors to the winner on Sunday.
As the final groups hit the back nine, two superstars -- already extremely wealthy -- are the prime contenders to take home the winner's check. Rory McIlroy started the day with a six shot lead. That's dwindled a bit, thanks to Sergio Garcia, but he's still on the back nine with a multi-shot cushion and honing in on the third leg of a career grand slam. McIlroy makes a ton of cash off the course, mostly from his Nike deal. But at just 25-years old, he also has $29,730,258 in career earnings on the course. This would obviously be a huge payday for the Ulsterman, but it's secondary to the history and career goals of winning a Claret Jug.
The same can be said for Sergio, who is 34-years-old and has won $48,013,477 in a decorated but major-less career. Garcia has been close so many times at the majors, including the Open, but still holds the title of "best player to never win a major." Even though it seems like he's been around forever -- and we've seen so many close calls -- he's still the same age that Phil Mickelson was when he won his first of five major titles. So there will be plenty of opportunities for the Spaniard to keep going for that first major. But with just a two-shot deficit, and putting brilliantly, he's ready to try and pounce now. Just like McIlroy, the winner's check is secondary for Sergio at the major championships.
UPDATE: Here are the payout totals for the field that made the cut:
|T64||Billy Hurley III||4||$22,040|