The 10 South Africans and their quest for The Open Championship and R55m payday

South Africa's Thriston Lawrence reacts after a shot during the final round of the BMW International Open golf tournament in Eichenried near Munich, southern Germany,

South Africa's Thriston Lawrence is one of 10 South Africans in the field this week for The Open Championship. Picture: Christof Stache/AFP

Published Jul 20, 2023


How does R55.36m for four days work sound? Well that’s what’s on offer for the winner of The Open Championship, which begins on Thursday.

Technically, though, it’s not just ‘four days work’ as the top professionals in the world only get a shot at that top prize after a lifetime of work. Still, it’s great money if you can get it - and of course you’re a man. The first prize in the Women’s Open is substantially less, but more on that later ...

There are 10 South Africans playing in The Open with four debutants on display in are Kyle Barker, Christo Lamprecht (amateur), Martin Rohwer and Ockie Strydom raring to go. They will be joined by former Open champions Louis Oosthuizen and Ernie Els. Making up the SA field will be Christiaan Bezuidenhout, Thriston Lawrence, Branden Grace and Charl Schwartzel.

The Champion Golfer of the Year will receive the highest amount in The Open’s history as it returns to the renowned Hoylake links for the 13th time. The 151st Open will be played at Royal Liverpool from July 20 to 23.

The R&A announced last week that the total prize fund for The Open, will be $16.5 million, which is an 18% increase on 2022.

While the first place cheque stands at $3m, second place will take home a whopping amount of R31.4m. Third place will also earn over $1m with R20.13m allocated. The 10th place finisher, meanwhile, will earn $340 500 which is R6.2m.

In fact, the top 45 players will still take home over a million rand with $56 400 (R1.04m) on offer for 45th place.

No doubt the competition between the LIV Golf Series and the PGA Tour has helped rival tours increase prizemoney overall.

Although the women’s game has also seen a substantial increase in prize funds over the last few years, it still pales in comparison to the men’s tours.

For example, last year’s Women’s Open champion (Ashleigh Buhai) took home $1.09 (R20.13m) which shockingly is just over a third of the men’s first place this year.

Still, that R20m payday was comfortably the biggest of South African Buhai’s career. The prize money will be expected to be increased this year when Buhai attempts to defend her title at Walton Heath from August 10 to 13, but it will be nowhere near the staggering amounts on offer for the men.


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