Last Sunday, Viktor Hovland shot a course record 61 at Olympia Fields Golf Club in Illinois to come from behind to win the BMW Championship in the second event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs. The career-low round clinched a $3.6 million payday. “Nothing that beats that,” Hovland said.
The 25-year-old Norwegian just beat that.
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Hovland ran away from the field this week to capture the PGA Tour Championship, with Xander Schauffele finishing in second, five strokes back. The victory also secured Hovland the FedEx Cup Playoffs title and its $18 million bonus. The five-year pro set a new PGA Tour record for one-year earnings with $34.5 million, including his prize money, FedEx bonus and Comcast Business Tour top 10 bonus.
The FedEx Cup playoff launched in 2007 and carried a $75 million bonus pool this year. Rory McIlroy won it last year for his third title; Tiger Woods is the only other golfer with two wins. Schauffele finished second at the Tour Championship in Atlanta for a $6.5 million FedEx bonus, followed by Wyndham Clark ($5 million) and McIlroy ($4 million).
After Hovland, the golfers with the highest total earnings for 2023 were Scottie Scheffler ($26.4 million), Jon Rahm ($21.3 million), McIlroy ($20.3 million) and Clark ($17.8 million). McIlroy’s $28.4 million in earnings last year set the previous Tour record.
It has been a banner year for golfers’ bank accounts after the PGA Tour boosted prize money this season to compete with LIV Golf. The PGA established 13 “elevated” events that feature increased winnings totaling $315 million, up 47% from 2022. The PGA Tour’s total purse for the year is expected to top $560 million, an increase of $140 million.
Scheffler set a record last year for official PGA Tour prize money with $14 million. Three golfers—Scheffler ($21 million), Rahm ($16.5 million) and Hovland ($14.1 million)—topped the record this year, with McIlory just $100,000 behind.
Last year, LIV recruited Bryson Dechambeau, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Cameron Smith, and dozens of other players. In addition to massive signing bonuses, its eight no-cut events last year had total prize money of $255 million. Johnson topped LIV’s prize money list with $35.6 million. In 2023, the 14 LIV events are scheduled to pay $405 million in total.
In June, the PGA Tour, LIV and DP World Tour, Europe’s main golf circuit, reached an agreement to merge their commercial interests into a single, for-profit global golf entity. It ended all litigation between LIV and the PGA Tour.
Hovland and other PGA Tour stars will add to their prize money haul via the Tour’s Player Impact Program (PIP), which began in 2021 to funnel more money to top players who bring attention to the sport. It paid out $40 million during the first year and jumped to $100 million for 2022. Hovland’s total earnings should hit $40 million if he finishes in the program’s top six.
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