PINEHURST, N.C.: This year's U.S. Open purse is unlikely to jump dramatically from last year's figure of US$12.5 million, U.S. Golf Association (USGA) CEO Mike Davis has said.
The association estimates that the U.S. Open costs about US$80 million to stage and generates revenue of some US$165 million, about 75per cent of the body's annual revenue.
Davis said 100per cent of the non-profit USGA's revenue is invested back into the game and the Open's profitability allows it to provide funds for a myriad of programmes that benefit the game.
"Virtually everything we do loses money," Davis said after Saturday's USGA annual meeting, where the body unveiled its new brand slogan: 'From Many, One'.
The slogan refers to the thousands of players who enter U.S. Open qualifying each year before the number is eventually whittled down to the champion.
The four men's majors - Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open and British Open – generally raise their purses incrementally to keep pace with the PGA Tour's flagship event, the Players Championship, which next week will offer a record purse of US$15 million.
Davis would not say whether the purse for this year’s U.S. Open at Winged Foot in June would be at least US$15 million, stating that the figure would be decided closer to the event.
But he said it was fair to be asked why the USGA did not differentiate itself by raising its purse to US$20 or US$30 million.
"For every million dollars, that's a million dollars we can't put into funding for (other areas)," he said, citing junior programmes, research grants and a new championship for disabled golfers, among other things.
"We realise we have to be in the market where we're competitive with purses, so it's a balance and I'm not sure there's ever a right or wrong.
"We only have so much money. If we went to US$30 million, we're going to have to stop doing (other things). Is that the best thing for the game of golf?"
(Reporting by Andrew Both; editing by Ken Ferris)