Here’s a look at some milestones. Since 1980, the median U.S. household income has increased by less than $50,000 or four times greater, while the payouts for the U.S. Open Winners have increased by $2,195,00 or 41 times greater. 1895: Three-Figure Payday
So while $55,000 was a lot of money for a tournament, it was money that many Americans could relate to as many earned it in a single year while others earned it in two to three years time. When Jack Nicklaus won the U.S. Open in 1980, for example, his winning share was worth $55,000. The median U.S. household income at the time was $17,000. Nicklaus’ payday was worth just three times more than what the average U.S. family earned in one year.
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This weekend’s winner, though, will take home $2,250,000. And with a median U.S. household income of just $65,712, it’s money the average U.S family sees as simply fantasy cash. Winning the U.S. Open, however, wasn’t always a guaranteed payday worth millions.
It took 36 more years for the prize money to hit four-digits when Billy Burke took home $1,750 for his win. The median household income was $1,970. First Prize: $1,750 (1.1x less)Household Income: $1,970 1931: Prize Hits Four-Figures
First Prize: $150 (2x less)Household Income: $300 In the very first U.S Open tournament, back in 1895, the winner, England’s Horace Rawlins, received a check for $150. The household income was $300.
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