In 1987, Curtis Strange became the richest golfer within a single season, for the second time.
Strange had help with his win at The NEC-World Series of Golf At Firestone Country Club where he registered a three stroke victory over runner up Fulton Allem. Strange pocketed $144,000 for his first place finish, and the South African, Fulton Allem came away with a very decent $86,400 for himself. This isn’t the first time Strange has set a new mark as a money leader for a season… He did it just two years earlier in 1985 and just missed out to the coveted Player of the Year award to Lanny Wadkins due to the point system.
Funny thing is that Strange had only planned on playing one more event before the closing of the season in October but this win at the World Series of Golf changed things for Virginia native. Strange had this to say about the season end award, “When I win the money title in 1985 I’d thought I would never have a chance at Player of the Year again…I’d be foolish–I’d hate myself in later years, if i didn’t do everything I could to win it.”
As eyes grow, so did the purses
It’s not a far stretch to realize that as the purses in golf tournaments get bigger, the season totals would too. So was it inflation? Or was Strange that hot in 85′-89′. He won 11 of his 17 PGA Tour titles during this time. In the 1980’s, if a player could string three or four wins together in a season they can really rake in some doe some legends of the game like Arnold Palmer & Jack Nicklaus never had a chance at seeing & the trend continues. For example, the winners share of the WGC Firestone won by Dustin Johnson this year was 1.6 million…While when the Jack Nicklaus won it in its inaugural stroke play format the first price was only $100,000.
Josh Morris is the Editor of Golf History Today. A proud USGA Volunteer and golf enthusiast. In his free time he enjoys being a weekend caddie as well as playing as much as he can.