What Was the Prize Money at the First-Ever PGA Championship?

Millions of dollars — in some cases, tens of millions of dollars — are at stake in golf's major championships today. But how much was at stake in the beginning? The beginning of the PGA Championship was in 1916. How much money were the golfers playing for in that first PGA Championship? Very, very little by modern standards — but a lot by the standards of the time.

The 1916 PGA Championship had a purse of $3,000. And that was big for its time. How big? More than three times bigger than the purse of the 1916 U.S. Open, which was $900.

Every one of the 32 golfers in the first PGA Championship got paid, wihch was also unusual: Most golf tournaments of the time only paid the top finishers. The 16 golfers tying for last (the first-round losers in match play) in the 1916 PGA Championship received $50 each. At the 1916 U.S. Open, only 10 places were paid, and you had to finish eighth or better to make $50.

The PGA winner in 1916 was Jim Barnes, and Barnes received a first-place prize of $500. Barnes defeated Jock Hutchison in the championship match, and Hutchison earned $250 for second place. By comparison, the first-place prize at the U.S. Open that year (which actually went to the runner-up, since the winner, Chick Evans, was an amateur) was $300.

The semifinal losers at the 1916 PGA each got $125, and the quarterfinalists made $75 each. The second-round losers were paid $60 each.

More PGA Championship history:

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