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Rory McIlroy wins PGA Tour's Player Impact Program, accompanying $15M bonus

November 22, 2023
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Andrew Redington

Rory McIlroy is the winner of the PGA Tour’s 2023 Player Impact Program, which comes with a $15 million payday. The results were released to players on Wednesday in a memo from PGA Tour executive vice president and chief player officer Jason Gore, a copy of which was published via social media by tour member Nate Lashley.

McIlroy, 34, had two worldwide wins in 2023 and scored a team-best four points for the Europeans en route to victory at the Ryder Cup. The Ulsterman continued to be the de facto face of the tour in its battle against LIV Golf, a position he acknowledged made him feel like a “sacrificial lamb” following announcement of the tour’s surprise framework agreement with LIV’s backer, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, in June. The PIP news comes a week after McIlroy resigned his post from the PGA Tour’s policy board and two days after TGL—the tech-inflused golf league he formed with Tiger Woods—announced it was delaying its launch by a year.

The PIP is a bonus pool that 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 PGA Tour for LIV Golf. However, improvements to the PIP were announced at this last year’s Tour Championship to broaden its scope. After spreading out $40 million to those on last year’s list, the 2022 and 2023 PIP pools were increased to $100 million in payouts, with 20 players earning rewards.

The tour uses a number of measurements for putting together the 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 added general population and fan awareness criteria.

Any player eligible for PIP payments must fulfill three additional requirements to be paid in full. They include: 1) Play in a mutually agreed-upon PIP Designated tournament; 2) Participate in a mutually agreed-upon PIP service event; 3) Fulfill the Mandatory Participation Requirement as outlined in the PGA Tour Tournament Regulations handbook. Players will receive PIP payments in two installments. The first 75 percent will be paid with the Sentry (formerly known as the Tournament of Champions) purse payment, and the remaining 25 percent will be paid once a player completes the three obligations.

Woods, who won the first two PIP bonus pools, finished second in this year’s ranking. Woods played just events in 2023 and hasn’t competed since withdrawing from the Masters. Woods, who underwent ankle surgery just weeks after his Augusta National appearance, is scheduled to return at his Hero World Challenge exhibition next week.

In posting the results, Lashley, a 40-year-old with one win in six seasons on the tour (2019 Rocket Mortgage Classic), did so seemingly in frustation over the format, editorializing in the post: “How many golf fans actually know what the PIP on the PGA Tour is? Would love to hear from golf/PGA fans if they think this $100 million was spent well? There’s 150-200 members of the PGA Tour and they just spent $100 million on 20 players. Seems a little ridiculous. Time for new leadership on the PGA Tour. This is an absolute kick in the face to the rest of the PGA Tour players.”

Below is the list of PIP winners, along with their bonus for making the list:

1: Rory McIlroy, $15 million

2: Tiger Woods, $12 million

3: Jon Rahm, $9 million

4: Jordan Spieth, $7.5 million

5: Scottie Scheffler, $6 million

6: Rickie Fowler, $5 million

7: Viktor Hovland, $5 million

8: Justin Thomas, $5 million

9: Tommy Fleetwood, $5 million

10: Max Homa, $5 million

11: Xander Schauffele, $3 million

12: Jason Day, $3 million

13: Tony Finau, $3 million

14: Collin Morikawa, $3 million

15: Matt Fitzpatrick, $3 million

16: Wyndham Clark, $2 million

17: Cameron Young, $2 million

18: Justin Rose, $2 million

19: Patrick Cantlay, $2 million

20: Brian Harman, $2 million