Not only has injury cost Rory McIlroy the chance to defend the Claret Jug, he will also miss out on the record £1.15m winner’s cheque on offer at the Open this week.
Read more: McIlroy accepts Open defence hopes are over
The total purse for the 144th staging of golf’s oldest Major has grown £900,000 to £6.3m – a prize money pool that guarantees even the 70th placed player at St Andrews £14,500.
The first prize is more than the £975,000 McIlroy pocketed last year, and is up 60 per cent since the championship was last staged at St Andrews in 2010, when Louis Oosthuizen took home £720,000.
Golf’s three other Majors and the famously lucrative so-called fifth Major, The Players Championship, all pay their winners $1.8m, equivalent to the Open’s top prize.
And despite the unrivalled historic status held by the Open, it cannot claim to be the richest tournament in golf. The total prize pool equates to $9.8m, marginally less than the $10m on offer at the US Open, Masters and US PGA Championship.
Wonderkid Jordan Spieth, favourite to take the Claret Jug from the crocked McIlroy, has already banked $1.8m from winning both the US Open and Masters and is the highest earner on the PGA Tour so far this year.
Spieth, who can also seize the Northern Irishman’s No1 world ranking depending on his performance at St Andrews, would take his 2015 earnings over $10m with another title, having already made $8.7m this season. Not since Tiger Woods made $10.5m in 2009 has a golfer earned more on the PGA Tour in a single year.