PGA Tour

PGA Tour's popularity ranking undergoing drastic change

March 01, 2023


The PGA Tour’s Player Impact Program is undergoing its fourth change in just over two years of existence.

Tucked away in PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan’s memo to tour membership Wednesday that announced sweeping changes to the designated event series was a note about the tour’s PIP initiative. The PIP bonus pool was instituted in 2021 to reward players who boosted engagement and publicity for the tour. Ostensibly, a response to some of the lucrative deals rumored to be coming from the then-Premier Golf League, the inaugural program somewhat backfired; five of the 10 winners in 2021—Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka and Bubba Watson—ultimately left the tour for LIV Golf.

However, improvements to the PIP were announced at the 2022 Tour Championship to broaden its scope. After spreading out $40 million to those on 2021’s list, the 2022 PIP pool initially increased to $50 million, only to double to $100 million in payouts. The list also went from 10 players to 20. Perhaps the most consequential alteration was what making the PIP list did for a player going forward, giving those on the list entry into the tour’s designated events.

But on Wednesday, a tour memo announced that, starting in 2024, the program’s bonus pool will be reduced to $50 million, distributed once more only to the top 10 players. Moreover, there is no language in the memo that highlights entry into designated events based off the PIP ranking.

According to the memo, the other $50 million is being reallocated to the FedEx Cup bonus program and the Comcast Business Tour Top 10 standings.

The tour uses five measurements for putting together the PIP list: Internet searches; the number of unique news articles that include a player’s name; duration that a player’s sponsor logos appeared on screen during Saturday and Sunday PGA Tour telecasts; a player’s general awareness score among broad U.S. population; and social media score that considers a player’s reach, conversation and engagement metrics. Along with Google Search, Meltwater and Nielsen measurements, the 2023 list is adding general population and fan awareness criteria.

Tiger Woods has won both iterations of the PIP, beating Phil Mickelson in its inaugural year and besting Rory McIlroy in 2022.