PGA Tour Historical Money List Winners, with Inflation Adjusted Earnings

When I read that Matt Kuchar had topped the PGA Tour 2010 money list with $4,910,477 in earnings, I began to wonder how that feat stacks up historically. On the surface, it doesn’t look like much compared to the $10,905,166 Vijay Singh racked up in 2004, or the $10,867,052 Tiger scored in 2007. But it certainly looks miles away from the $6,767 that Paul Runyan earned in 1934—the first year records were kept.

Of course, the problem with such historical comparisons is that over time, inflation has eroded the value of the dollar. To get a true comparison, player earnings need to be figured in current dollars. To do that, I recalcuated the earnings based on published inflation rates.

In current dollars, it turns out that Paul Runyan’s $6,767 in 1934 would be worth $110,911.13—not close to Matt Kuchar’s $4 million, but surely a pretty good living. Tops among the early players, Byron Nelson’s 1945 campaign netted him an inflation-adjusted $746,727.43. No wonder he was able to buy a ranch on his winnings. Jack Nicklaus in 1967 was the first to top $1 million in inflation adjusted dollars.

Kuchar’s $4 million thus is a pretty paltry sum. Sing’s $10 million in 2004 would be worth $12 million today. Kuchar earned a third of that. It is, however, roughly twice what Nick Price earned in 1994—the year before the so-called “Tiger Effect” took hold.

The entire chart is below:

YearWinnerEarningsInflation Adjusted
2010 Matt Kuchar$4,910,477$4,910,477.00
2009 Tiger Woods$10,508,163$10,508,163.00
2008 Vijay Singh$6,601,094$6,601,094.00
2007 Tiger Woods$10,867,052$11,193,063.56
2006 Tiger Woods$9,941,563$10,538,056.78
2005 Tiger Woods$10,628,024$11,584,546.16
2004 Vijay Singh$10,905,166$12,322,837.58
2003 Vijay Singh$7,573,907$8,785,732.12
2002 Tiger Woods$6,912,625$8,226,023.75
2001 Tiger Woods$5,687,777$6,882,210.17
2000 Tiger Woods$9,188,321$11,301,634.83
1999 Tiger Woods$6,616,585$8,469,228.80
1998 David Duval$2,591,031$3,394,250.61
1997 Tiger Woods$2,066,833$2,748,887.89
1996 Tom Lehman$1,780,159$2,403,214.65
1995 Greg Norman$1,654,959$2,300,393.01
1994 Nick Price$1,499,927$2,144,895.61
1993 Nick Price$1,478,557$2,173,478.79
1992 Fred Couples$1,344,188$2,029,723.88
1991 Corey Pavin$979,430$1,527,910.80
1990 Greg Norman$1,165,477$1,888,072.74
1989 Tom Kite$1,395,278$2,385,925.38
1988 Curtis Strange$1,147,644$2,054,282.76
1987 Curtis Strange$925,941$1,722,250.26
1986 Greg Norman$653,296$1,260,861.28
1985 Curtis Strange$542,321$1,068,372.37
1984 Tom Watson$476,260$971,570.40
1983 Hal Sutton$426,668$908,802.84
1982 Craig Stadler$446,462$977,751.78
1981 Tom Kite$375,698.84$875,378.30
1980 Tom Watson$530,808.33$1,364,177.41
1979 Tom Watson$462,636$1,350,897.12
1978 Tom Watson$362,428.93$1,177,894.02
1977 Tom Watson$310,653.16$1,087,286.06
1976 Jack Nicklaus$266,498.57$994,039.67
1975 Jack Nicklaus$298,149.17$1,174,707.73
1974 Johnny Miller$353,021.59$1,517,992.84
1973 Jack Nicklaus$308,362.10$1,473,970.84
1972 Jack Nicklaus$320,542.26$1,625,149.26
1971 Jack Nicklaus$244,490.50$1,281,130.22
1970 Lee Trevino$157,037.63$857,425.46
1969 Frank Beard$164,707.11$953,654.17
1968 Billy Casper$205,168.67$1,251,528.89
1967 Jack Nicklaus$188,998.08$1,200,137.81
1966 Billy Casper$121,944.92$797,519.78
1965 Jack Nicklaus$140,752.14$947,261.90
1964 Jack Nicklaus$113,284.50$774,865.98
1963 Arnold Palmer$128,230$888,633.90
1962 Arnold Palmer$81,448.33$571,767.28
1961 Gary Player$64,540.45$457,591.79
1960 Arnold Palmer$75,262.85$528,345.21
1959 Art Wall$58,167.60$416,480.02
1958 Arnold Palmer$42,607.50$312,739.05
1957 Dick Mayer$65,835$495,737.55
1956 Ted Kroll$72,835.83$568,847.83
1955 Julius Boros$63,121.55$499,922.68
1954 Bob Toski$65,819.81$519,318.30
1953 Lew Worsham$34,002$269,635.86
1952 Julius Boros$37,032.97$295,893.43
1951 Lloyd Mangrum$26,068.83$212,982.34
1950 Sam Snead$35,758.83$315,392.88
1949 Sam Snead$31,598.83$281,229.59
1948 Ben Hogan$32,112$282,906.72
1947 Jimmy Demaret$27,936.83$265,399.89
1946 Ben Hogan$42,556.16$462,585.46
1945 Byron Nelson$63,335.66$746,727.43
1944 Byron Nelson$37,967.69$458,270.02
1943 No stats compiled
1942 Ben Hogan$13,143$171,121.86
1941 Ben Hogan$18,358$264,538.78
1940 Ben Hogan$10,655$161,210.15
1939 Henry Picard$10,303$157,429.84
1938 Sam Snead$19,534.49$294,384.76
1937 Harry Cooper$14,138.69$208,969.84
1936 Horton Smith$7,682$118,840.54
1935 Johnny Revolta$9,543$151,351.98
1934 Paul Runyan$6,767$110,911.13

2 thoughts on “PGA Tour Historical Money List Winners, with Inflation Adjusted Earnings”

  1. Wow what really Amazes me is how much inflation there has been in 50 years. Tiger’s rolling in the money.

  2. I’d love to see a stat that takes out the “Tiger Effect”. That would be percentage of total Tour purse won by the winner.


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