OF THE countless ways to measure Tiger Woods's influence on golf over the last two decades—TV ratings, participation rates, number of stuffed feline headcovers sold—few are quite as dramatic as the growth in PGA prize money. In 1995, the year before Woods made his professional debut, the Tour held 44 events and the combined purse totaled $62.9 million. By 2000 that number had grown 160%, to $163.6 million. In fact, after Woods won his first major, the '97 Masters, the Tour's total prize money grew nearly 20% in '98. And the year after that? Almost 40%.
Even when the figures are adjusted for inflation, the period from 1997 to 2003 represents nothing short of a money explosion, with year-over-year growth in double digits in all but one season. It seems like more than a coincidence that the growth more or less mirrored Woods's prime. By '06 the Tour purse had essentially flattened, according to inflation-adjusted figures, and it actually dropped year-over-year in '09 and '12 (read: financial crisis). But since—with the exception of a dip in '13, a function of the Tour calendar changing, starting the season in October—the money has started to roll in again, thanks not to one game-changing figure but because of the generation he inspired.
Presented by GEICO
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Total purse, all official events
BREAKING DOWN TIGER WOODS'S RECORD $111.2 MILLION IN CAREER EARNINGS
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21.82% IN MAJORS
16.78% SINCE 2010
58.25% IN WINS
21.82% IN MAJORS
U.S. OPEN, BRITISH AND PGA
FEDEX CUP EVENTS
ARNOLD PALMER INVTL