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Saturday, June 22, 2024

PGA Tour’s $100M Incentive Program May Be On Thin Ice

  • Jordan Spieth says he doesn't think the PGA Tour needs its Player Impact Program anymore.
  • The bonus system paid out $100 million to 20 players in 2023.
Syndication: The Commercial Appeal

Since 2021, the PGA Tour has been rewarding its most engaging stars with tens of millions of dollars in bonus money each year.

However, the lucrative Player Impact Program — which this year paid a record $100 million to 20 golfers — may not survive in the long run.

“Its goal was to help prevent players from accepting high-dollar Saudi offers, LIV offers,” three-time major champion Jordan Spieth said ahead of this week’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. But the PIP program “doesn’t really do that,” he said.

Top PGA Tour stars like Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, and Brooks Koepka bolted for LIV Golf last year, and Jon Rahm is rumored to be considering a $600 million offer.

The PIP was originally launched by the PGA Tour to reward players who were making an impact off the course. The program used metrics like TV viewership and social media engagement to determine the most popular players — and therefore who got the biggest paychecks.

For the 2023 season, the top five included Rory McIlroy ($15 million), Tiger Woods ($12 million), Rahm ($9 million), Spieth ($7.5 million), and Scottie Scheffler ($6 million).

It was recently confirmed that players would receive equity in PGA Tour Enterprises, the commercial entity to be formed as part of the framework agreement with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and the DP World Tour.

In 2024, the PIP will be cut in half to $50 million for 10 golfers, with the other $50 million going to other player bonus programs like the FedEx Cup. 

“I’m not sure what that will look like after that,” Spieth said. “Hopefully, it won’t need to exist.”

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