PGA Tour players will be handsomely rewarded come Sunday, when the Tour hands out $60 million in FedEx Cup bonus money to those who finished in the top 125 of the standings. A whopping $15 million of that will go to the winner of the Tour Championship.
It’s a good time to be an elite pro golfer, and even more money will be dished out later this year via the Tour’s new Player Impact Program (PIP), which will disperse a pool of $40 million to 10 players based on an impact score calculated by factors such as FedEx Cup rank, Google search popularity, brand exposure, social media engagement and more.
The Tour will give $8 million to the player at the top of the PIP ranking — but golf fans might not know who takes that massive sum home, or any of the prize pool at all.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday ahead of the season-ending Tour Championship, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said “we don’t have any intention on publicizing it.”
When asked to elaborate, he said, “To us, it’s a program that we created, was created by our players, with our players, for our players, and that’s what we decided that we were going to do when we created it.”
Monahan said all the metrics they track are equally weighted.
“For us, it’s all about getting our players to engage in our game, help grow our Tour, and help grow their own respective brands,” he said. “And if you look at what drives engagement, it’s on-course performance, and that is part of the basis for the way the Player Impact Program was developed. You’ve seen how everybody’s performed this year, and I think as we look at it and you think about the way that fans and the major storylines on the way fans have engaged, players have engaged fans through those channels, I think it’s fairly intuitive.
“The point I would make is that we’re up, you know, this year we’re up 41 percent when you look at cross-channel consumption,” he continued. “We’re up across every metric. And I think that’s, first and foremost, because of the quality of play, but I also think we’re benefiting from some really powerful engagement from our players day-to-day and doing the things I just described.”
Earlier this year at the Wells Fargo Championship, Rory McIlroy said the PIP isn’t just about rewarding the best players.
“It’s not as if it’s just the top-10 players or the top-10 names in the game get this money and, ‘Thank you for your loyalty,”” McIlroy said. “There’s a bit more to it. I think that Justin Rose made a good point. He said a rising tide lifts all ships. I think with the top players being more engaged in the Tour and the goings on, it will help the rest of the membership.”