Whether you believe Tiger Woods is the greatest golfer of all time or not (Jack Nicklaus is the only other acceptable answer, by the way), there’s no denying that the influence he’s had on the game is unparalleled.
While we won’t delve into every way he changed the sport here today, we will focus on one specific aspect: money.
Since Tiger joined the PGA Tour in 1996, purses have grown exponentially as his popularity brought new sponsors, bigger TV contracts, and boatloads of extra cash into the golf world. And just how much more moolah is up for grabs these days?
When Woods famously won his first Masters in 1997, he pocketed $486,000. And what was the amount written on Scottie Scheffler’s check after slipping on the green jacket in 2022? That would be $2.7 million, a ridiculous 455.56% increase.
The “Tiger Effect” is real, folks.
So with this difference in mind, we thought we’d have a little fun today and see just how much money Tiger Woods would have made during his best season using today’s dollars. Naturally, we’ve chosen his 2000 campaign for this exercise.
Tiger Woods won 10 times in 2000, including three major championships
Once again, whether you believe Tiger Woods is the GOAT or not, there’s no denying that his 2000 season was the most spectacular display of dominance in the history of golf.
Woods made 22 official starts in 2000 and won 10 of them, including the final three major championships of the year. After finishing fifth at The Masters, Tiger put on arguably the greatest performance in the sport’s history at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, winning by 15 strokes.
A month later, he won The Open Championship on the Old Course at St. Andrews by eight strokes and became the youngest to complete the career Grand Slam. And a month after that, he won his second straight PGA Championship in a memorable duel with Bob May.
As for his non-major victories, Tiger took titles at the Mercedes Championships (now the Sentry Tournament of Champions), the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the Bay Hill Invitational (now the Arnold Palmer Invitational), the Memorial, the WGC-NEC Invitational, and the Canadian Open. And in his final official outing of the year, he won the Johnnie Walker Classic, one of two appearances he made on the European Tour.
Woods never missed a cut and only finished outside the top five three times, his lowest finish coming at the Western Open, where he tied for 23rd. Ridiculous, right?
How much Tiger Woods would have made in 2022 playing his 2000 schedule
So we now come to the truly fun part.
In his 22 official starts in 2000, Tiger Woods raked in $9,578,889, the most any golfer had ever earned in a single season up to that point.
Now, calculating what he would earn today playing that same schedule proved to be a bit tricky, the main reason being that several of the tournaments in which he participated that year no longer exist. So when that problem arose, I simply used a purse from a similar event.
For instance, take the now-defunct Buick Open, which was played in the state of Michigan from 1958 to 2009 and typically took place two to three weeks after The Open Championship. Sounds a lot like the Rocket Mortgage Classic, which was played in Detroit two weeks after this year’s British. Close enough, don’t you think?
Then there’s the matter of the Tour Championship, which currently uses the staggered-stroke system that gives the top seed, which Tiger undoubtedly would have been, a two-shot lead before play ever begins. In 2000, Woods lost at East Lake by two to Phil Mickelson, who likely would have been the No. 2 seed, which means we could have gotten a playoff between the longtime rivals.
But since we don’t know how any of that would’ve played out, to keep it fair and accurate, we kept Tiger in second, which would have given him a $6.5 million payout in 2022. Given their overall history, I think it’s fair to say Woods would have beaten Mickelson in that playoff and taken the $18 million top prize. Again, though, we wanted to keep things as accurate as possible, so we kept the 2000 result.
So even without that extra $11.5 million he likely would have won, just take a look at what Tiger would have earned in 2022.
|Tournament||Tour||Finish||2000 Earnings||2022 Earnings|
|AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am||PGA||1||$720,000||$1,566,000|
|Bay Hill Invitational||PGA||1||$540,000||$2,160,000|
|The Players Championship||PGA||2||$648,000||$2,180,000|
|Byron Nelson Classic||PGA||T4||$176,000||$618,800|
|Deutsche Bank SAP Open TPC of Europe||EUR||T3||$151,079||$413,333|
|The Open Championship||MAJ||1||$759,150||$2,500,000|
|NCR Golf Classic Disney||PGA||3||$204,000||$503,700|
|WGC-American Express Championship||WGC||T5||$157,500||$386,000|
|Johnnie Walker Classic||EUR||1||$239,489||$1,265,750|
But wait, there’s more.
As the PGA Tour Playoffs didn’t exist in 2000, neither did the Comcast Business Tour Top 10, the $20 million pool divided between the top 10 players in the FedEx Cup standings at the end of the regular season. As Woods would have easily been in the top spot, we have to tack on an extra $4 million.
And let’s not forget about the Player Impact Program (PIP), which also didn’t exist back then. As Tiger won the PIP in both 2021 and 2022, we’re pretty sure he would’ve won it in 2000 as well. So there’s another $15 million.
So without taking a single endorsement into account — or that additional $11.5 million — Tiger Woods would have earned $53,374,892 from his 2000 season in 2022 dollars. Have I used the word ridiculous yet?
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