Originally Posted by Limpinhitter
I think Ashe won the inaugural US Open in 1968 as an amateur. I wonder what happened to the $14,000?
urban is right. Okker was the first registered player in tennis history in the summer of 1968 : I think in July just after Wimbledon but I'm not sure so he possibly earned his first official prize (not "under-the-table") in the Irish Open ended on July 7, 1968 but it is to be checked.
A registered player was a special amateur player (that is a player who must obey his national (and international) federation) who could take prize money in open events but wasn't allowed, as any other amateur, to enter in professional events (held by private professional promoters).
Therefore this is Okker, as a registered player in an open event, who earned the first prize money of $14,000 (Rosewall, though the best pro in this tournament, was beaten in the semis by Okker and so Ken took the second prize, possibly $7,000). Ashe received his expensive money (if I remember well something like $28 a day for a fortnight).
Ashe became independent pro circa the spring of 1969 : I think he took the runner-up prize money in the March 1969 Madison Square Garden invitational (to check too).