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PGA Tour

Jim Herman wants a piece of that $40 million in tour social media incentives, but knows he won't get it

June 26, 2021

CROMWELL, Conn. — The PGA Tour created its $40 million Player Impact Program to reward its megastars. The guys who stop fans in their tracks, who need neither an introduction nor a last name. Tiger. Phil. Brooks. Bryson. Rory.

But what about Jim?

Jim … Furyk? Nah. Jim … my Walker? Try again. We’re talking Jim Herman, the 43-year-old World No. 145 who’s been unafraid to openly campaign for a piece of that bread.

It all began on April 20, when Golfweek reported the existence of the program, which was widely seen as a response to rival golf leagues that offered stars the prospect of guaranteed money. This would be the tour’s method of doing its biggest names a solid, to compensate them for something other than their on-course results.

“My ship has come in!” Herman tweeted the following day.

On May 10: “I can’t believe the Tour is going to pay me $40,000,000.00 for this Twitter account. There’s gotta be a catch?”

On May 24, right after a certain lefty won a major championship: “Happy for @PhilMickelson, but still bittersweet knowing that he’s probably gonna bump me from the top spot on the PIP rankings. #fortyMil”

On May 29: “I can’t think of anything clever to tweet today, but I’d still like that $40,000,000.00 of #PiP money. So do me a favor and like this and retweet it anyway.”

And, perhaps the best of the bunch—even if it’s not directly related to the PIP—came after the Bryson-Brooks fiasco at the Memorial: “Anybody who calls me 'Charles Howell' is getting thrown out tomorrow.”

Herman, of course, is posting these entirely in jest. He knows full well the type of players who will finish in the top 10 of the impact standings, and that their profiles look nothing like his: a guy who misses a bunch of cuts and then pops out of nowhere to win. Herman missed eight of 13 weekends this year, and 11 of 20 in 2020, and 15 of 23 in 2019. He has three wins total, including one in each of the past two seasons—at the 2020 Wyndham Championship and the 2019 Barbasol Championship—but no other top-10s since March 2017.

With nearly $8 million in career earnings—one can afford to miss a boatload of cuts if they capitalize on their “on” weeks like Herman has—Herman is comfortable financially. But a man can always want more, and the social-media hijinks began after a frank conversation with his manager.

“We tried to get some followers thinking it’d be important to the manufacturers, as far as getting a better club deal,” Herman said after a third-round 67 on Saturday at the Travelers Championship. He has now made two cuts in a row after missing eight of 10 heading into the Memorial.

“And then this PIP came along. Knowing that we have very little chance of getting it, barring me winning multiple times, we’re just having fun with it. Guys like me, people definitely don’t know much about us apart from what the broadcasters say when we’re playing well. It’s fun to put out some fun things, there’s no rhyme or reason to it. I know there’s no way I’m going to win it.”

There are, however, ancillary benefits to being funny on social media. Twitter predates the PIP, and players have leveraged the platform to become more popular with fans and their peers. Just ask Max Homa or Eddie Pepperell.

“There’s definitely a benefit to it. People seem to be following it,” Herman said. “The fans are definitely picking up on it. And some of the guys out here, too. The other players, they’re encouraging me to keep it going, keep having fun with it.”

As far as what might be in the works, Herman previewed a feud that would surely unseat Brooks-Bryson as the tour’s most headline-worthy kerfuffle.

“Vaughn Taylor—he’s my next target.”