LOS ANGELES – Results from last year’s Player Impact Program are still not official – although Phil Mickelson declared victory in December – and already there’s a groundswell of support to change the way the PGA Tour awards its most impactful players.
“It’s all about getting our players to engage in our game, help grow our Tour, and help grow their own respective brands,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said last year when asked about the PIP.
While most players agree with the concept, many believe that the index used to recognize and reward last year’s $40 million bonus pool needs some reimagining.
“It is a good thing and it is a bad thing because, do guys deserve more? Do guys that have really moved the needle, that have produced what we have done for the game, do they deserve more? Yes,” said Collin Morikawa, the second-ranked player in the world who reportedly finished 11th on last year’s PIP list. “What’s the pool this year, $50 million? I mean, that’s crazy to me. $50 million to the top 10 players that can impact this game. I think there’s probably better routes, other things.”
The PIP uses a compiled score from five criteria – Nielsen ratings, Google searches, MVP Index, Meltwater Mentions and Q-Rating – based on a player’s appeal and popularity on social media.
Full-field scores from The Genesis Invitational
One of the most common criticisms of the PIP is a lack of transparency. The Tour hasn’t released the top 10 players from last year’s list, and there remains uncertainty about how the list compiled – and whether the $40 million bonus (increased to $50 million this year), along with another $10 million per player to encourage pros to play 15 events, could be spent in better ways.
“I don’t think that’s the best use of $60 million, but I don’t have an answer for that,” Morikawa said. “I really don’t know other ways we can do it, but there’s got to be something. To pay out that amount is pretty crazy.”
Patrick Cantlay took it a step further.
“I think I’m old school in the fact that I think money should be doled out according to play,” Cantlay said, “and I don’t like that departure.”