PGA Tour creates $40M bonus pool for top stars

Feb 28, 2021; Bradenton, Florida, USA; Matt Kuchar places Tiger stamped ball in support go the Tiger Woods during the final round of World Golf Championships at The Concession golf tournament at The Concession Golf Club. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

The PGA Tour has created a $40 million bonus pool for its 10 most popular stars in an effort to stave off the potential for defections to a rival golf league, Golfweek reported Tuesday.

Called the Player Impact Program, its design is to “recognize and reward players who positively move the needle” on fan and sponsor engagement, a Tour spokesperson told Golfweek. The $40 million will be distributed among 10 players at the end of the year, with the most valuable getting $8 million.

The program began Jan. 1.

There are six criteria the players will be judged on to determine the distributions. According to Golfweek, those criteria are:

1. “Ranking on the season-ending FedEx Cup points list.”
2. “Popularity in Google search.”
3. “Nielsen Brand Exposure rating, which places a value on the exposure a player delivers to sponsors though the minutes they are featured on broadcasts.”
4. “Q Rating, which measures the familiarity and appeal of a player’s brand.”
5. “MVP Index rating, which calibrates the value of the engagement a player drives across social and digital channels.”
6. “Meltwater Mentions, or the frequency with which a player generates coverage across a range of media platforms.”

The results of each will be converted into Impact Scores, per the report, that will create the standings and the dollars distribution.

The PIP is seen as a response to the Premier Golf League, a Saudi Arabia-backed venture that has made attempts to attract the PGA Tour’s top players by promising big sums just to show up, Golfweek reported.

In its communication to players, the Tour did a simulation of the 2019 season and rendered a Top 10. Tiger Woods came out on top, followed by Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler.

Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose and Adam Scott rounded out the top 10, per Golfweek.

Despite being sidelined indefinitely after a bad car crash in February, Woods could conceivably still make the top 10 — or even finish No. 1 — this year given his massive star power and global appeal.

“Tiger should be No. 1 on that list no matter what,” Koepka told Golfweek. “He’s the entire reason we’re able to play for so much money, the entire reason this sport is as popular as it is, and the reason most of us are playing. Not even close.”

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–Field Level Media