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Devil Ball Golf

Check out the first check Jack Nicklaus ever earned as a professional

Shane Bacon
Devil Ball Golf

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Jack Nicklaus — Getty Images

Golf is not nearly what it once was when Jack Nicklaus was coming up as a youngster hoping to just make it as as pro. Back in 1962, being a professional golfer wasn't private jets, Cadillac courtesy cars and fans screaming your name and staying hours after your round for an autograph.

Before Tiger Woods hit the scene, making a million dollars with a win was unheard of, but Nicklaus still had a dream and he started that dream at the Los Angeles Open.

That was 52 years ago, and Nicklaus finished T-50, earning $33.33, an amount of money that even mini tour players would scoff at these days (okay fine, mini tour players will take anything, but you get the point).

Nicklaus posted the picture on his Instagram, explaining, "All through the years people have said, 'You won WHAT the first time?! $33.33?!’ ” Nicklaus joked, “Yes and I wonder whatever happened to that extra penny."

To put the difference in money from then to now in perspective, Len Mattiace finished T-49 at the OHL Classic in the middle of November of 2013. His paycheck? A cool $14, 660, but even that has grown since Tiger decided to leave his amateur status behind for the professional ranks.

In Woods' first start as a pro, he earned $2,544 for finishing T-60, with Rory McIlroy earning $90,222.22 in his first PGA Tour start as a professional in 2009.

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Shane Bacon is the editor of Devil Ball Golf and Busted Racquet on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shanebaconblogs@yahoo.com or

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