Higher rewards

R&A lifts Open prize fund but still lags LIV deal

Paul Lawrie with Claret Jug
Former winner Paul Lawrie promoting the 150th Open Championship (pic: Terry Murden)

The R&A has increased the prize money for the 150th Open championship by more than a fifth – but still can’t compete with the vast riches being offered by the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series.

The milestone tournament, which starts on the famous Fife links next Thursday, will have a prize pot of £11.7m up for grabs after the 22% rise.

Whoever prevails at St Andrews will pocket a cheque for a record £2m – still nearly half of what Charl Schwartzel banked for winning the inaugural LIV Golf event at the Centurion Club last month.

The former Masters champion took home an eye-watering £3.86m for three days’ work as the controversial rebel series teed off.

The increase for this year’s landmark tournament means the 2022 champion golfer will take home £300,000 more than Collin Morikawa did after landing the Claret Jug 12 months ago at Royal St George’s.

Martin Slumbers, the R&A chief executive, said: “There have been significant changes in prize money over the last year.

“We have therefore increased the prize fund by 22% which means that the prize money has increased by more than 60% since 2016.

“We have made this substantial investment while balancing our wider commitments to developing golf at all levels around the world and to continuing to elevate the AIG Women’s Open.”

A war of words has broken out which threatens to derail the sport after the DP World Tour and PGA Tour hit out at the LIV Golf Series, which has tempted Ryder Cup stars such as Phil Mickelson, Bryson Dechambeau, Brooks Koepka, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter with the promise of guaranteed vast sums of money.

Poulter was banned from competing at this week’s Scottish Open, only to successfully win an injunction allowing him to play at the Renaissance Club in East Lothian.

The Englishman failed to make the most of his reprieve, though, failing to make the cut after finishing 10-over par for his first two rounds.

Cameron Tringale, leader after his course record-equalling first-round 61, bogeyed his last three holes but still finished three shots ahead of the field on seven-under-par at the half-way mark.

Fellow Americans Doug Ghim and Gary Woodland are his nearest rivals at -4.

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