The Masters champion will win $1.8 million — more than triple what Tiger Woods won in 1997

Cork Gaines

When the Masters tees off on Thursday, 94 golfers will compete for the coveted green jacket. The winner will also take home $1.8 million in winnings.

The popularity of Tiger Woods is often credited for the explosion in golf earnings, and the winner's check certainly had it's greatest growth after Woods won his first Masters in 1997 and took home $486,000. However, the growth actually started 15 years before that.

In 1982, Craig Stadler won $64,000. Four years later, when Jack Nicklaus won his last green jacket, the winner's earnings had more than doubled to $144,000 and the race was on.

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Diana Yukari/Business Insider

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