PRIZE money for next week’s Open Golf Championship at Royal Lytham and St Annes will be the same as last year at Sandwich – £5m.
The winner will receive £900,000, the same figure that Darren Clarke pocketed in 2011.
The first professional to win an Open at the Fylde coast links was South African Bobby Locke in 1952, when his first prize was £300.
Peter Dawson, chief executive of Open organisers the Royal and Ancient, explained the ‘freeze’. He said: “I don’t think there’s pressure for an increase.
“The economy is tough and I don’t see a need to make already generous prize money outrageously generous in these times.”
There is prize money down to 70th place of £11,500.
The minimum prize money for those players missing the halfway cut is £2,350. The top 70 will receive at least £11,500.
*LITTLE known American golfer Troy Kelly has booked his place in next week’s Open Championship at Royal Lytham.
Finishing second in the Greenbrier Classic, which finished on Sunday in West Virginia, has put little-known Kelly in the Lytham field.
But compatriot Michael Thompson has missed out, despite finishing joint-second to Webb Simpson in the US Open.
The PGA Tour originally announced that Australian Marc Leishman and Thompson had taken the two Open spots available from a mini money list – but that was was before Kelly earned his place in a play-off with Ted Potter for the Greenbrier title.
Potter won it to go ahead of Thompson in money earned in the last six weeks.
And Kelly, who entered the week 464th in the world, took an Open place as the leading non-exempt player at the Greenbrier Classic.
Simpson is still officially in the field for next week’s major, even though he has been saying ever since his US Open triumph last month that he does not intend playing because his wife is due to give birth immediately after The Open.
Current first reserve Ben Crane will not automatically replace Simpson if he does pull out because of all the exempt players in the frame. This could also result in the field exceeding the usual 156.
Depending on the weather, one of the early arrivals for practise at Royal Lytham could be Ian Poulter, though most of his practice will centre on Woburn Golf Club.
*FYLDE golf team to take on Preston at Fairhaven tonight: Richard Galley (St Annes Old Links +1) Lee Mayers (Fairhaven +1) Conor Griffiths (St Annes Old Links, Scratch) Simon Denye (St Annes Old Links +1) Andrew McLoughney (St Annes Old Links, 1).