The right to call yourself a major champion – whether for the first or latest time – is the ultimate prize at stake in this week’s US Open at Winged Foot.
However, it’s far from the only one.
There are, in fact, many perks that go with being the winner of the United States national open.
Here are seven of the most notable…
The US Open Championship Trophy
The US Open silverware might not have the same unmistakable looks or quirky name as other golf trophies but its simplicity belies an incredible past. The original two-handled cup, first presented to inaugural champion Horace Rawlins in 1895, was destroyed by fire in September 1946 at Lloyd Mangrum’s home country club, Tam O’Shanter, outside of Chicago. The USGA considered replacing it with a new design, but opted instead to preserve the look of the original with a full-scale replica on April 24, 1947.
This replica remained in service, passed from champion to champion until 1986, when it was permanently retired to the USGA Golf Museum in Far Hills, New Jersey, where it remains to this day. These days, the US Open champion receives possession of the 1986 full-scale replica.
The Jack Nicklaus Gold Medal
Back In 2012, the USGA renamed the medal presented to the US Open winner in honour of four-time champion Jack Nicklaus and redesigned it with his image. The medal, which had not previously had a formal name and whose design has evolved over time, dates to the first US Open in 1895, when Rawlins received the coveted prize.
Money. Lots of money.
Prize money has come a long way since Rawlins pocketed $150 for winning the inaugural US Open. A very long way. Last year’s champion Gary Woodland went home with $2,250,000 after his victory at Pebble Beach. It hasn’t yet been disclosed how much this year’s champion will get but expect it to be in the same ballpark.
Other perks of winning:
• A 10-year US Open exemption
• A 5-year exemption for Masters, US PGA, The Open and the Players Championship
• A 5-year exemption on the PGA Tour - automatic for regular members; non-PGA Tour members who win the US Open have the choice of joining the PGA Tour either within 60 days of winning, or prior to the beginning of any one of the next five tour seasons.
• A 5-year invitation to the US Senior Open and a lifetime invitation to the Senior PGA Championship and Senior British Open.