Since news of its existence first broke in April, the PGA Tour’s $ 40 million Player Impact program has been a bit of a punching bag. Critics lament the PIP, as it is now called, as concrete proof of the imminent evolution of professional golf from meritocracy to guaranteed money. It has been called a thinly veiled attempt by the tour to appease superstars in the face of legitimate competition. And, perhaps the most damning accusation of all: it’s what unnecessarily perpetuated the Brooks Koepka-Bryson DeChambeau feud throughout the summer and fall.
The PGA Tour has remained silent on its controversial new schedule. So far, that is. To better understand how PIP works, Golf Digest spoke with Andy Pazder, PGA Tour Tournament and Competition Manager, who helped lead the project. While he won’t disclose who will win the $ 8million grand prize – Smart Money says he’s a man who hasn’t played any PGA Tour events this year – Pazder provided details on the schedule: who is eligible, what the payout structure looks like and how it fits into the tour’s broader goals.
Here are the answers to your PIP FAQ.
What is PIP, anyway?
Put simply, it is “a program designed to reward the players who have the greatest positive impact on our business,” according to Pazder. Literally speaking, this is a $ 40 million fund for the top 10 on an internal PIP points list, which uses five criteria to rank Tour players based on how much attention they give to the game. Thu. It was ratified by the tour board in March 2020 and entered into force on January 1, 2021. The list will be updated at the start of each calendar year and is not linked to the tournament schedule of the tour.
That’s a great question, and the timing is hard to ignore. While Pazder said the tour has had internal discussions about creating a program like PIP for years, its start in 2021 coincides with a discussion regarding the potential increase of two leagues that have reached, one surfacing from LIV Golf Investments, led by Greg Norman (who pumps money into the Asian Tour), the other known as the Premier Golf League, who hopes to build a golf team under the PGA Tour umbrella.
While the ultimate vision for LIV Golf Investments, backed by Saudi Arabia, is unclear, Norman confirmed to Golf Digest that a significant portion of his $ 200 million investment will go towards player appearance fees, which are prohibited on the PGA Tour. A number of stars, including Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and Xander Scheatele, entered the February Saudi Invitational and are sure to be paid generously to do so. The PGL discussed a payment structure that effectively rewards the best results but pays all participants. This, then, would appear to be a mechanism to guarantee the biggest names in the game a big paycheck even if their form on the course declines.
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How are PIP ratings determined?
Pazder emphasized the objective nature of the ranking, suggesting that, given the subjective nature of popularity, the tour was strongly committed to creating a system that filters out bias, is traceable in real time, and relatively easy to understand. A player’s score is determined by five total items which are all worth 20 percent of the overall score. They are as follows:
• Google searches: How many times a player’s name is searched. Players will only receive credits for research that relates to them, so Adam Scott won’t just benefit from having the same name as the actor.
• Meltwater mentions: Tracks how often a player is mentioned in global media
• MVP Index: A measure of a player’s reach on social media
• Nielsen’s Note: How many times a player is featured on TV
• Q-Score: A decades-old measure of an entity’s familiarity and attractiveness
Notably, none of the five criteria are directly linked to a player’s performance on the course, although a fit player will certainly be featured more often in shows and in Google searches.
Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka’s one-year social media swap would likely help their PIP score.
Who is eligible?
Any member of the PGA Tour who has played five or more events in the current season, or five or more events in at least one of the previous five seasons. Tiger Woods is therefore eligible to win the 2021 Grand Prize and will be eligible until 2024 even if he never plays a touring event again.
“From the moment a player retires or is not physically eligible to play,” said Pazder, “there is a five-year period in which he can still benefit from this program. design It’s a reward for being a great ambassador for the game and staying visible.
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How is the money distributed?
The $ 40 million fund for 2021 will be broken down as follows:
The player ranked 11th will not receive any money from the pool. The overall prize fund will grow to $ 50 million for 2022, with the winner taking home $ 10 million.
When will we know who wins?
The tour plans to distribute a list of the top 10 winners to its members from mid-February to the end of February. And while this list is not being made public, there is no doubt that the information will eventually find its way into the media.
Does the money come in a lump sum?
Players will be paid in two parts, but only after meeting two requirements. The first half will be delivered after a player has attended a mutually agreed upon ‘sponsorship function’. This can take the form of media interviews, dinner, Q&A, golf outing, etc. The second half comes after the player has participated in a mutually agreed upon tournament on the PGA Tour schedule. Tour could use this rule to generate interest in a late tournament or to help a player meet their requirement to play at least one new event (defined as a tournament they haven’t played in the past four seasons) every year. “It can be any number of things,” Pazder said. “It could be related to the sponsor, or we’re running a campaign and it makes sense for us to have a specific player there.”
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Is this a step on the way to appearance fees in touring events?
As previously reported, the PGA Tour does not currently allow a tournament to pay player appearance fees, and Pazder said that shouldn’t change anytime soon.
“We still want the vast majority of our players’ income to be performance based,” said Pazder. “We think it’s a unique aspect of our sport. It’s a differentiator for us. Is there a day when we allow court fees? I don’t see it coming. The way our business model works, we are a very sponsor-centric sport. We rely heavily on our title sponsor base, our official marketing partner base, and our media revenues, which are our biggest source of income. We want all of these constituents to invest in the tour, which allows us to provide $ 838 million in player allowances for next season… as opposed to the tournaments themselves or the title sponsor making side deals with the players.
Can a player check where they are in the PIP race?
Yes, players can receive a detailed breakdown of their rankings throughout the year. However, they will not be able to obtain information on the ranking of other players.
Does the tour care if a player’s coverage / attention is positive in nature?
Yes and no. Pazder said fears that a player might deliberately act to increase their PIP score are unwarranted. Tour does, however, hold the power to nullify a player’s score in a certain category for extreme cases.
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Looks like the tour is helping its richer players get richer. What about the other guys?
According to Pazder, PIP is part of the tour’s growing efforts to help its members seize off-course business opportunities. The tour recently launched a Player Partnerships Program, led by Dan Glod, which aims to help players market themselves to potential sponsors and, in some cases, match sponsors with potential ambassadors. The tour accumulated data on the amount of player payouts for a varying number of deals: how much does a 30-year-old with X number of PGA Tour wins and X number of social media followers charge? for the logo on his hat; her bag; his left sleeve – which he intends to share with the members. The tour will also provide players with dollar values for the exposure they receive through the tour’s media channels, including broadcast and digital media content.
“We don’t want to replace what agents do. we look [the program] as a complement or supplement to what a player’s representative does. … And if a company comes to us and tells us we’re interested in sponsoring professional golfers, we can customize a program for them: do they want a headliner or eight mid-level people? We now have the data to filter by age, availability on a player’s jersey, sleeve or golf bag. And if a player is negotiating a contract, we can help him and his representatives by giving them this data.
These types of services (industry-wide comparisons and revenue opportunity analysis) were previously available to gamers, but have been provided by consulting / media / marketing companies for hire. The PGA Tour will provide this service to its members free of charge.
“I have personally seen in our sport, and it is always an interesting debate at the breakfast table with our players, their off-course income as their ‘guaranteed income’. Jon Rahm knows what he’s going to earn from Callaway in 2022. The counter to that would be yes, I had to play my tail to earn those dollars and it’s a reward for my game. I wouldn’t call that of it. money guaranteed, in and of itself, but my mindset thinks of it that way.