Report: PGA TOUR creates $40M bonus pool to reward most popular players
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The PGA TOUR reportedly created a $40-million bonus pool that will reward the sport's most prominent players based on factors outside of their performance on the course, according to Golfweek's Eamon Lynch.

The new payout system is designed to compensate players such as Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, and Bryson DeChambeau who drive fan and sponsor engagement.

A PGA TOUR spokesperson confirmed to Lynch that the Player Impact Program began Jan. 1 to "recognize and reward players who positively move the needle." At the end of the year, the $40 million will reportedly be divided among the top 10 players, with the most valuable player awarded $8 million.

Players will receive an "Impact Score" based on the following metrics and compared against their peers, Lynch writes:

  1. Their position on the season-ending FedEx Cup points list.
  2. Their popularity in Google Search.
  3. Their Nielsen Brand Exposure rating, which places a value on the exposure a player delivers to sponsors through the minutes they are featured on broadcasts.
  4. Their Q Rating, which measures the appeal and familiarity 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 FedEx Cup ranking is the only element determined by on-course performance.

The PGA TOUR distributed simulated results from 2019 to players to demonstrate how the bonus pool works. Woods topped the list, followed by McIlroy, Brooks Koepka, Phil Mickelson, and Rickie Fowler.

"Tiger should be No. 1 on that list no matter what," Koepka told Lynch. "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."

One anonymous player with multiple wins on TOUR was not completely sold on the idea.

"Most players feel it is a shoo-in money grab for only those at the top, and it's extremely hard to break into that category if you're not already in it," he told Lynch.

"For example, the same people are always on TV, including the same names always on PGA TOUR Live, which the TOUR chooses who gets on that. Also, the top, top guys are invariably the ones with the most social media followers, and that results in more money from this plan. The overriding thought is why not do something to help all of the players? The FedEx Cup already takes care of the top."

The new year-end bonus is perceived as a response to the threat of the Premier Golf League, according to Lynch, which wanted to poach the PGA TOUR's top players with large sums of guaranteed money.

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Report: PGA TOUR creates $40M bonus pool to reward most popular players
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