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The richest major of them all

“What's the most important major?” This debate belongs in the barroom-question hall of
fame, alongside “Jack or Tiger?” and “Pacino or DeNiro?” But thanks to the weak dollar, proponents of the British Open can make their strongest argument yet against the supremacy of the Masters:
Money talks.

Historically the least lucrative of the majors, the two-dollars-to-one-pound exchange rate has made the British Open more generous than Brad and Angelina in an African village with no electricity. The Open now dispenses a cool $8.4
million in prize money, with $1.5 million going to the winner. Trevor Immelman
took home $1.35 million when he won this year’s Masters, the same amount Tiger
Woods pocketed at the U.S. Open. And the winner of next month's PGA Championship gets just $1.26 million (or roughly just enough to rent a car in the U.K. for a week).

Sure, the weather’s a little cool and wet at Royal Birkdale, but don’t weep for all the Tour pros dressed like
snowboarders, hacking through the seaside dunes. They have plenty of reasons to
be here. Plus, with Tiger Woods at home, there's more money for the rest of them.

And while everyone’s been bashing Kenny Perry for skipping
this tournament, he might actually be pretty crafty. With all the best players over
here, Perry has his eye on the U.S. Bank Championship’s $720,000 first prize in Milwaukee. Good
work if you can get it.

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by Kevin Cunningham