Doyle Brunson mentioned that was how it use to be with the WSOP
. And the he prefers the game that way.
My personal opinion is that is sucks. If we as a community going to keep expanding and maybe make poker as common a sport (I use the word Sport loosely here), there needs to my a prize structure that will pay of more than first. Golf works that way. And you know how many golfers are out there.
Same goes for sit and goes. Taking 50% of the prize pool in a sit and go with 10 people is nothing to sneeze at unless you are playing really low stakes like below the $5 level. If I can make $25 for about an hour of my time consistently. I would do it every day.