U.S. Open offers largest-ever purse for men's major championship

PINEHURST, N.C. -- When Germany's Martin Kaymer was a wire-to-wire winner in the last U.S. Open played at Pinehurst No. 2 in 2014, he walked away with a winner's check of $1.62 million from a $9 million purse.

Whoever lifts the U.S. Open trophy on the 18th green Sunday will earn $4.3 million of a $21.5 million purse, the largest ever awarded in a men's major championship.

"We want to make sure that our purse matches how we feel about the rest of our championship, which is a life-changing difference in the game," United States Golf Association CEO Mike Whan said Wednesday. "And I think we're there and we'll continue to kind of monitor that."

The purse is a $1.5 million increase from last year's U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club. It's the second-largest purse offered on tour this season; the Players Championship had a $25 million purse in March with winner Scottie Scheffler taking home $4.5 million.

The Masters had a $20 million purse (Scheffler collected $3.6 million for capturing a second green jacket), and last month's PGA Championship awarded $18.5 million (Xander Schauffele won $3.3 million).

The R&A hasn't yet announced the purse for The Open, scheduled for July 18-21 at Royal Troon Golf Course in Scotland. The purse was $16.5 million when Brian Harman won at Royal Liverpool in England last year.

"We're proud of our purse," Whan said. "I'm proud of the fact that we as an organization consistently ask ourselves whether or not we think we've got our purse right, our TV right. All of those things have changed quite a bit in the last few years, and change is uncomfortable, but I think we're not only keeping up with the times, but hopefully at least in the landscape of majors, in a lot of these cases we're leading."