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Stealing an idea from a potential rival golf league? That’s nothing new for the PGA Tour.


One of the charms {of professional} golf has at all times been that it’s a meritocracy. You shoot decrease scores, you end greater on the chief board, you make more cash.

There aren’t any long-term contracts the place a participant hits .203 for the season however nonetheless will get paid the $30 million he agreed to in a contract years prior. There aren’t any bonus clauses for all-star recreation appearances or for the variety of video games performed.

Want extra money? Shoot higher scores.

Yes, there are endorsement offers on the market for gamers, however to a nice diploma, these offers nonetheless hinge on a participant’s efficiency.

That’s what makes information of the new PGA Tour bonus pool a bit odd. First reported by Golfweek, the Players Impact Program shouldn’t be a lot about how a golfer is taking part in, however how a golfer impacts the recreation by way of a number of metrics that don’t embrace scoring common or strokes gained: placing.

Larry Bohannan is the golf author at the Palm Springs (Calif.) Desert Sun, a part of the USA Today Network.

In a nutshell, the $40 million bonus pool will likely be divided amongst gamers who, in the language of tv, transfer the needle. Those are gamers who convey optimistic consideration to the recreation.

The metrics used will embrace the reputation of a participant in Google search, how effectively a participant brings publicity to his sponsors by way of one thing known as Nielsen Brand Exposure, his Q scores of familiarity and enchantment, one thing known as an MVP score of the engagement gamers to generate on social and digital channels and eventually one thing known as Meltwater Index score, which figures out a participant’s worth throughout a vary of media platforms.

In different phrases, how common is a participant and the way does that reputation assist the PGA Tour and the participant’s sponsors?

The Players Impact Program does smack of the wealthy getting richer. That’s one thing the PGA Tour already does with its World Golf Championships, a collection of no-cut, high-profile occasions that assist extremely ranked gamers stay extremely ranked merely by being in the subject and getting a assured verify at the finish of the week.

More cash, and assured cash, was a part of the promise behind a breakaway tour proposed by powers in Saudi Arabia final yr.

The Premier Golf League sent formal offer letters worth “hundreds of millions of dollars” to a handful of players.

Although Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka — then the high three golfers in the world — had all got here out to reject the PGL, the following gamers had been reportedly linked to the new circuit: Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Paul Casey and Koepka.

Soon after, a historic alliance was announced between the PGA Tour and European Tour after months of tense negotiations, heading off a rival bid to take a stake in the European circuit by the non-public fairness group fronting the PGL.

That announced partnership includes collaboration on issues like media, playing opportunities, scheduling and prize funds and is extensively seen as the first step towards an eventual merger of the two our bodies.

So though the potential rival was thwarted, now comes a PGA Tour program that mimics the PGL’s premise of giving high gamers better, and extra dependable, revenue.

Greg Norman watches the ball after swinging at Augusta National GC. Norman proposed a World Golf Tour and a few years later then-PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem helped to create a bastardized model of the idea. File Photo: The Augusta Chronicle by way of USA TODAY NETWORK

More cash for high gamers

If that situation sounds acquainted, assume again to when Greg Norman proposed a World Golf Tour, solely to be shot down by then-Commissioner Tim Finchem, who then helped create the World Golf Championships, a almost similar idea.

For those that want a refresher, Norman advised the golf world of his grasp plan to start out a competing tour again in 1994. He selected the pristine Sherwood Country Club exterior of Los Angeles — the place he hosted the Shark Shootout — revealing a proposal to start out a mini-tour, starting with eight dates in 1995.

The purses could be massive and the fields small — solely 40 gamers could be invited to every occasion, with 30 coming from the golf rankings and 10 by way of exemptions. Even the last-place finishers would obtain $30,000 and all who signed up for the tour had been to be given a yearly journey stipend of $50,000.

Norman’s effort was framed as grasping and self-serving. His tour by no means obtained off the floor.

And in 1997, Finchem introduced plans for the World Golf Championships, which adhered to a lot of the similar rules.

No one is saying a participant, his title and his likeness shouldn’t be rewarded for reputation. That occurs in all types of the leisure world, from sports activities to films to music. It is what is going to finally convey down the NCAA and beginner athletics completely. But $40 million for common gamers appears, effectively, a little grasping.

The PGA Tour has loads of cash, clearly. And in addition they to a diploma management the quantity of publicity a participant will get by way of pairings and tv home windows. So that ought to be a concern for gamers who won’t be in the bonus pool.

Could the Tour have used that cash higher? Of course. There are golfers on the Korn Ferry Tour, the Latinosamerica Tour and the Mackenzie Tour who wish to make a fundamental residing, and the cash might have been used for that. There are tournaments that struggle exhausting to earn a living for native charities, and the bonus pool cash might have been used to complement these donations to maybe a minimal for every occasion.

And there are efforts to develop the recreation of golf that might profit from that cash, money that may as an alternative go to already well-compensated gamers.

Who will get the cash? Well, you possibly can assume Tiger Woods will likely be the hottest golfer in the world for a whereas, even when he by no means performs once more after his latest car accident. Players like Bryson DeChambeau and Phil Mickelson will likely be on the checklist, little question, as will Rickie Fowler, whose reputation and business enchantment lengthen past his on-course accomplishments.

More cash for high gamers (and group homeowners) is at all times going to be a driving pressure in sports activities. It’s why the NFL goes to a 17-game schedule subsequent yr. It’s why there was a proposal this week for a tremendous league of soccer in Europe amongst the high golf equipment in the recreation, a proposal that crashed spectacularly when followers noticed by way of the greed.

In a world the place “social media influencer” is an precise job title and athletes have changed film stars as the world’s largest celebrities (assume Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in addition to Tiger Woods), cash for a participant’s Q score can’t be a shock.

Even if it’s a little bit of a shock it confirmed up in the meritocracy of golf.

Larry Bohannan is The Palm Springs (Calif.) Desert Sun golf author, a part of the USA Today Network. He could be reached at [email protected]

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