There’s no getting around the matter of money in men’s professional golf. The launch of LIV Golf and its $20 million tournament prize money payouts has had a cascading effect on the PGA Tour purses, exponentially increasing the amount top performers earn in a given year. That, meanwhile, has impacted rank-and-file players, too, with a proverbial rising tide that has lifted all boats.

At LIV Golf, Talor Gooch wrapped up the 2023 season with three wins in 13 starts, making $35.3 million individually when you include a $18 million bonus as the circuit’s top points earners. What makes that number so notable is when you take into account that Gooch, 32, earned $9.25 million during his PGA Tour career … in 123 starts.

In turn, Scottie Scheffler set an all-time PGA Tour record for prize money earned, winning $21,014,342 in tournament paydays while playing in 23 events. That shattered the tour’s previous single-season record, set a year ago by Scheffler with $14.04 million. (And that broke the previous record, set by Jordan Spieth in 2015, of $12.03 million.) The introduction of more than a half dozen “designated” events with $20 million purses in 2023 helps explain Scheffler’s exponential leap. Meanwhile, we’re not even including the FedEx Cup bonus money handed out as well. Viktor Hovland banked $32.1 million when you add his $18 million for winning the overall title during the Tour Championship in August to his own on-course earnings. (Next year the FedEx Cup champ makes a $25 million bonus.)

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But here’s where the lifting-all-boats part comes into effect. On the LIV Tour, 49 golfers started in at least six events in 2023, and all 49 made more than $1 million for the year. And during the 2022-23 PGA Tour season, a record number of players—139 in total—earned more than $1 million. That’s up from 126 for the 2021-22 season and 124 from the 2020-21 season.

There was an even bigger percentage jump on the PGA Tour of people making $2 million this season compared to years past. In 2022-23, 87 players collected at least that much in on-course earnings, up from 64 in 2021-22 (a 35.9 percent increase) and 68 in 2020-21 (27.9 percent).

It’s unclear what will shake out of a possible deal between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf’s financial backer, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, as negotiations for the creation of a for-profit company that will also include the DP World Tour race toward a Dec. 31 deadline. Regardless of the outcome, it seems certain the money will continue to be flowing. And the number of men’s pro golfers making $1 million isn’t likely to decline anytime soon.

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