Tiger Woods places the green jacket on Dustin Johnson after his 2019 Masters win (Photo/ANGC)

Updated April 23, 2021 at 10:01 AM CT

PGA creates bonus pool to reward biggest stars

      The PGA Tour has created a NASCAR-like lucrative bonus structure that will reward golf’s biggest stars regardless of how they perform on the course. The new system is designed to compensate players who are judged to drive fan and sponsor engagement.

The “Player Impact Program” as it’s known, is seen as a direct response to Premier Golf League, a proposed splinter tour funded by the Saudi Arabian regime that has tried to lure golf’s biggest names with the promise of a massive guaranteed pay day. PGL has spent years trying to gain traction but seems no closer to signing a sufficient number of elite players to be viable. Regardless, it has forced the PGA Tour to devise a means to reward stars for the value they add to the overall product rather than solely for their on-course performance.

Dustin Johnson is an example of a player who this is aimed at. Johnson is about as detached as you can get from anything outside the ropes, but he’s one of the world’s top golfers. The PGA wants to ‘persuade’ players to be more engaged.

Tiger Woods, Bryson DeChambeau and Rickie Fowler are examples of players who move the needle outside the ropes.

A pool of $40 million will be distributed among 10 players, with the player deemed most valuable receiving $8 million.

The 10 beneficiaries will be determined based on their “Impact Score,” a number generated from six separate metrics that are designed to quantify that individual’s added value. According to a document the PGA Tour distributed to players, the contents of which were shared with Golfweek, the metrics on which players will be ranked against their peers include:

(1) Their position on the season-ending FedEx Cup points list.

*Update: While FedEx Cup rank was included among criterion in the document players received, the tour tells Golfweek that it will not be used as a metric to determine bonus payments.

(2) Their popularity in Google Search.

(3) Their 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) Their Q Rating, which measures the familiarity and appeal of a player’s brand.

(5) Their MVP Index rating, which calibrates the value of the engagement a player drives across social and digital channels.

(6) Their Meltwater Mentions, or the frequency with which a player generates coverage across a range of media platforms.

The Tour will employ an algorithm to turn the values from each metric into Impact Scores for every player and a ranking of those Scores then determines the bonus amount due.

The program began in January.


Ran DeBord - All Access Sporting News

 Follow @AASNSports on Twitter, or me, @RanDeBord

Attributes: AASNSports; PGA; ANGC


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