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British Open purse 2015: Winner takes home $1.8 million in prize money

The Claret Jug is on the line on Monday at St. Andrews, but so is a $10 million purse.

Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
UPDATE: Zach Johnson prevailed in a playoff to win the Claret Jug and $1.8 million. Here is a look at the final payout.

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In 2014, the PGA Championship (in conjunction with The Players Championship) increased its purse to $10 million, making it the most lucrative major championship and setting off an arms race of sorts. The Masters followed suit this year, matching the $10 million purse with $1.8 million going to the winner. The 2015 U.S. Open then joined the party as did the British Open, which will award $1.8 million to whoever claims the Claret Jug on Monday at St. Andrews.

The purse is the biggest in Open Championship history with the winning share a solid increase from the $1.66 million Rory McIlroy took home last year at Royal Liverpool. The total purse increased a little more than $800,000, jumping from $9.19 million last year to $10 million this year. The British Open is arguably the most prestigious championship in golf and now its purse matches that of the other majors -- and The Players.

Who will walk away with the Claret Jug and the lucrative reward remains the major question. Three players were tied for the lead heading into the final round while 14 opened the day within three strokes of the lead. There is no shortage of the best in the world either, with Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Adam Scott and Zach Johnson among the top contenders. Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Patrick Reed are also on the fringe of contention.

Spieth is chasing his third major championship of the season, which would make him just the second player to ever accomplish that feat. A win would also add to his already absurdly lucrative season. The 21-year-old Spieth has already claimed $8.7 million in on-course earnings this season. That's more than $4 million more than any other player. A win at St. Andrews would give Spieth more than $10.5 million in prize money this season. No player has topped $10 million on the money list since Tiger Woods won $10.5 million in 2009.

Many of the top finishers will walk away with lucrative paydays and upwards of 20 players could all win six figures depending on how ties factor in. There is one player who won't be walking away with thousands of dollars in prize money, however. Amateur Paul Dunne owned a share of the 54-hole lead, but because he declared as an amateur for the tournament, he isn't eligible to win any prize money. Even if he wins the tournament, he can't take the $1.8 million prize. Whatever prize money Dunne would have won will instead be redistributed among the professionals.

Dunne won't be the only player turning down a big payday. Jordan Niebrugge opened the final round tied for sixth. There are five amateurs among the 80 players who made the cut, so only 75 players will receive a piece of this historically large purse on Sunday.

UPDATE: Should Dunne or some amateur win it, the first-place money will not go to the second-place finisher. The R&A made the following announcement on Monday morning:

The Championship Committee has made the following decision in relation to prize money at The 144th Open. This decision is specific to The 144th Open and does not bind future Committees.

The Open is a standalone championship and the Championship Committee does not believe that first place prize money should be paid to a second place finisher. Amateur players are not eligible to win prize money and therefore, should an amateur win The 144th Open first place prize money will be distributed proportionately among the professional players who have made the cut.

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