World No1 Dustin Johnson will be richly rewarded with a record $2.2m (£1.7m) prize if he becomes the first man in 28 years to win the US Open in consecutive years this weekend.
Johnson, who can also become only the second No1 after Tiger Woods since 1989 to win the Major, won $1.8m in prize money for his triumph at Oakmont last year.
The bump in the winner’s pay cheque is part of a $2m increase the United States Golf Association opted to make to the prize fund at this year’s US Open, making it the richest tournament in golf.
After boosting its overall cash offering to an unsurpassed $12m, the US Open now towers above the other three Majors in financial terms.
The Players Championship — often dubbed ‘the fifth Major’ due to its big paydays — and the PGA Championship both kept their prize funds flat at $10.5m this year, promising their winner the same prize as in 2016 — $1.89m.
The Masters increased its total fund to $11m this year, meaning first time winner Sergio Garcia took home $1.98m.
Next month’s Open Championship at Royal Birkdale Golf Club is yet to announce its prize money offering but is unlikely to top the US Open.
The Open paid last year’s champion Henrik Stenson £1.2m which translated to just $1.5m in dollar terms due to the weak pound — $300,000 less than the US Majors.
American Curtis Strange was the last player to successfully retain the US Open trophy after defending his title in 1989.
Strange was pad just $200,000 for his feat — less than anyone who finishes in this year’s top 10 positions will make.
Johnson is currently top of the PGA Tour prize money leaderboard this year, having already scooped up $6.4m, and history suggests his form in recent weeks will be a strong advantage.
Six of the last seven US Open winners had registered at least four top-10 finishes in the season prior to playing at the tournament — Johnson has six including wins at the Wells Fargo Championship and World Golf Championships Mexico.