The PGA Tour's New $40 Million Popularity Contest

    • 10 beneficiaries will receive a bonus from the PGA Tour’s $40 million pool in the Player Impact Program.
    • The impact score will be based off of a variety of popularity factors.

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The PGA Tour is giving its players another opportunity to make money — and it’s not by scoring under par. 

The Player Impact Program will reward competitors who drive fan and sponsor engagement to the Tour, regardless of how they perform on the course.

An “impact score” will determine 10 beneficiaries who will receive a bonus from the tour’s $40 million pool at the end of each calendar year, with the top score receiving $8 million. 

A spokesperson for the PGA Tour said it will provide extra resources to help players manage their own social media and branding. Participants will be judged on a variety of factors.

  • FedEx Cup year-end rank
  • Google Search popularity
  • Nielsen Brand Exposure Rating — exposure a player delivers to sponsors while featured on broadcasts
  • Q-Rating — familiarity and appeal of a player’s brand
  • MVP Index rating — engagement driven across social and digital channels
  • Meltwater mentions — the frequency with which a player generates coverage across a range of media platforms

The program, which started Jan. 1, has received mixed reactions from golfers involved.

“There I was thinking they were compensated enough,” said one Tour winner. “We earn our money through performance. What if you’re a really awesome player but don’t move the needle in those metrics?”

Justin Thomas, for instance, won the Players Championship and took home $2.7 million – the biggest single-tournament paycheck in PGA Tour history.