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PGA Tour Creates $40 Million Player Impact Program (PIP)


nevets88
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When I read this, I was like, this is a joke, right? It's not April 1st but it is April 20, 420. Especially after the whole thing going on with football, that is, not American football, soccer football. Nope, it's true.

The program was created in January and I guess they have been taking data in since. It's basically measuring social popularity indicators, from the internet, media, etc... and the top 10 get a piece of the bonus pool. And if I read correctly, it's basically private.

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According to a document the PGA Tour distributed to players, the contents of which were shared with Golfweek, the metrics on which players will be ranked against their peers include:

(1) Their position on the season-ending FedEx Cup points list.
*Update: While FedEx Cup rank was included among criterion in the document players received, the tour tells Golfweek that it will not be used as a metric to determine bonus payments.

(2) Their popularity in Google Search.

(3) Their Nielsen Brand Exposure rating, which places a value on the exposure a player delivers to sponsors though the minutes they are featured on broadcasts.

(4) Their Q Rating, which measures the familiarity and appeal of a player’s brand.

(5) Their MVP Index rating, which calibrates the value of the engagement a player drives across social and digital channels.

(6) Their Meltwater Mentions, or the frequency with which a player generates coverage across a range of media platforms.

The Tour will employ an algorithm to turn the values from each metric into Impact Scores for every player and a ranking of those Scores then determines the bonus amount due.

USATSI_15494056.jpg?w=640

The PGA Tour has created a lucrative bonus structure that will reward golf’s biggest stars regardless of how they perform on the...

 

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  • iacas changed the title to PGA Tour Created a $40 Million Bonus Pool for Most Popular Players
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Uhm, I can see some value in this. PGA Tour players, compared to players in other sports, are drastically underpaid at the top.

Top MLB players, top NHL players, top NBA, NFL players… all make a ton of money ON the field, despite not playing a year-round sport like golf, etc.

Golf careers are longer, of course, but… there's something to be said for a bit more separation from top to bottom.

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(edited)

Double Take Vomit GIF - DoubleTake Vomit DoubleBarf GIFs

I already thought it was too much of a popularity contest with the golf merch companies twisting the collective network arms to showcase their boys over others.

Edited by Carl3
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I am sure this will require tweaking over time, but I like it. Like @iacas said, the top athletes in other sports make more than pro golfers, and their pay isn't dependent on performance once the contract is signed. 

For example, Jordan Spieth. He is arguably the most popular player on tour when Tiger is not playing. Ratings jump when Spieth is in the hunt. His CAREER earnings are $45 million. He made less than $3 million per year from 2018-2020. Compare that to Mike Trout who makes $35 million a season and has a $426 million guaranteed contract, which means he can suck for a few years and still get paid big. Jordan had an off year last year and barely earned $1 million. 

Also, many of the top players on tour are largely forgettable. This will incentivize them to show more personality and be more open with social media, etc. Good for the game of golf all around. 

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1 hour ago, Braivo said:

I am sure this will require tweaking over time, but I like it. Like @iacas said, the top athletes in other sports make more than pro golfers, and their pay isn't dependent on performance once the contract is signed. 

For example, Jordan Spieth. He is arguably the most popular player on tour when Tiger is not playing. Ratings jump when Spieth is in the hunt. His CAREER earnings are $45 million. He made less than $3 million per year from 2018-2020. Compare that to Mike Trout who makes $35 million a season and has a $426 million guaranteed contract, which means he can suck for a few years and still get paid big. Jordan had an off year last year and barely earned $1 million. 

Also, many of the top players on tour are largely forgettable. This will incentivize them to show more personality and be more open with social media, etc. Good for the game of golf all around. 

Doesn’t this have to do with the basic issue across sports in general though? Men’s soccer players in the US are paid much less than NBA players because NBA is much more popular than soccer. MLB, NFL, NHL ....all considerably more popular than golf right? It’s not unfair that LPGA purses are smaller than PGA purses. It’s just economically appropriate. What am I missing here?

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1 minute ago, Vinsk said:

Doesn’t this have to do with the basic issue across sports in general though? Men’s soccer players in the US are paid much less than NBA players because NBA is much more popular than soccer. MLB, NFL, NHL ....all considerably more popular than golf right? It’s not unfair that LPGA purses are smaller than PGA purses. It’s just economically appropriate. What am I missing here?

Maybe the PGA players don’t get a share of the TV revenue like other sports. Just guessing. 

Oh and the US Men’s National Soccer team should be paying us to watch them. They are colossally inept. 

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1 minute ago, boogielicious said:

Maybe the PGA players don’t get a share of the TV revenue like other sports. Just guessing. 

Oh and the US Men’s National Soccer team should be paying us to watch them. They are colossally inept. 

Yeah...Men’s soccer a poor example. 

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5 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

Doesn’t this have to do with the basic issue across sports in general though? Men’s soccer players in the US are paid much less than NBA players because NBA is much more popular than soccer. MLB, NFL, NHL ....all considerably more popular than golf right? It’s not unfair that LPGA purses are smaller than PGA purses. It’s just economically appropriate. What am I missing here?

I'm not saying Spieth should make what Trout makes, but Trout gets paid whether he performs or not. Spieth doesn't. If Trout goes out with an injury for the next year, guess what? Still gets paid. Spieth? Nope. Athletes like Trout are paid, in part, based on the amount of revenue they help generate. On the PGA Tour they are paid strictly based on performance. Does Billy Horschel generate revenue? Not really, but he has made more money than Spieth over the last 3 seasons. 

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(edited)

When the likes of Mr. Poulter take to social media to show off a fleet of Ferraris, part of me is inclined to say "Good luck to the guy," but I'm not going to feel sorry for him that a Celtics point guard makes more in an afternoon than he makes in a year.

If it's the "sports entertainment" business, then the rewards are presumably proportionate to the popularity of the entertainment on offer.

The slice of hypocrisy in me, in light of this blatantly capitalist statement, is if the PGA had launched an initiative comparable to the old "benefit" games that some sports used to hold for retiring players, or, perhaps, in this instance, for players losing their cards, I would less unkindly disposed towards it. Why pour more money on those at the peak of their earning capacity in their chosen profession?

And "entertainment" appears to be a key metric here. The algorithm in the article the OP linked has little to do with performance, and everything to do with exposure, marketing, etc.

If someone falls into that category, surely their management is doing everything in its power to monetize that current popularity, as it is? Why do they need a little top-up from the Tour at Christmastime to say thank you?

Edited by ScouseJohnny
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27 minutes ago, Vinsk said:

Doesn’t this have to do with the basic issue across sports in general though? Men’s soccer players in the US are paid much less than NBA players because NBA is much more popular than soccer. MLB, NFL, NHL ....all considerably more popular than golf right? It’s not unfair that LPGA purses are smaller than PGA purses. It’s just economically appropriate. What am I missing here?

You’re missing that a lot of PGA Tour money goes to charity. More than all other sports combined. And yet three players themselves make less.

Perhaps.

14 minutes ago, ScouseJohnny said:

The slice of hypocrisy in me, in light of this blatantly capitalist statement, is if the PGA had launched an initiative comparable to the old "benefit" games that some sports used to hold for retiring players, or, perhaps, in this instance, for players losing their cards, I would less unkindly disposed towards it. Why pour more money on those at the peak of their earning capacity in their chosen profession?

They still make comparatively little to other stars.

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Seems a little silly to be paying the "self-promoters" even more.  But I guess they have decided it is in their best interest to do so.  Hopefully, it will also mean that the big name stars play in more tournaments.  Perhaps they are just trying to get all the PGA tour members to be more promoting of the game of golf? 

I do kind of like that the old "big name" golfers can no longer keep their card in perpetuity based on decades old achievements and there is more room for up and coming golfers to play on tour.

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Sort of an interesting concept. 

Obviously the entire golf world is highly concerned with its popularity or lack there of with younger people. Motivating players to appeal to them is at least an effort in that direction. 

What the actual return on investment will be is another thing. 

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I believe this program is a response to the Premier Golf League (Saudi funded) wanting to poach top players by offering guaranteed money to appear on their tour. The PGA Tour had to offer some incentive to the big names to keep them from considering that offer. 

Think about it, if you're Rickie Fowler and earning close to no prize money right now, you'd be awfully tempted to take a guaranteed $2-$5 million to play a year in the PGL. 

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Whatever the details, this a capital move by PGA to put their hand where their mouth is. 

The chain reaction all the way down to grass roots would be significant IMO. 

 

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1 hour ago, Braivo said:

 On the PGA Tour they are paid strictly based on performance. Does Billy Horschel generate revenue? Not really, but he has made more money than Spieth over the last 3 seasons. 

PGA players have the ability to win the pot every week. They may not share in the revenue, but they get to decide when and where and how often they play.

3 minutes ago, mcanadiens said:

Sort of an interesting concept. 

Obviously the entire golf world is highly concerned with its popularity or lack there of with younger people. Motivating players to appeal to them is at least an effort in that direction. 

What the actual return on investment will be is another thing. 

Golf is a difficult sport, which requires a lot of dedication to practice. A lot of money for equipment (>$1000) and even more money to play ($50).
A soccer ball/basket ball is $30. Everyone already has some form of footwear. And there is always a pick up game someplace. I think all the other major sports are team sports. We latch on to and root for the team. these teams typical have a superstar and we root for them.
Turn into golf and you have someone you never heard of leading the Fizzy Wuzzy open by 3 strokes on a sunday.

I still believe that golf does a poor job promoting itself to youth and females. 
It is not about the person who golfs, it is about the performance on the course.
And G*d help me if I have be inundated with tik tok videos about Mr. Poulter and his fleet of ferraris or his country club lifestyle!

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(edited)
2 hours ago, boogielicious said:

Maybe the PGA players don’t get a share of the TV revenue like other sports. Just guessing. 

Oh and the US Men’s National Soccer team should be paying us to watch them. They are colossally inept. 

This is almost definitely what this plan is - use some of the money the Tour earns from TV broadcasts or other media and distribute it based on which players are influencing the value of the Tour's brand the most. The PGA Tour doesn't have team owners getting a cut of the media money (based on both performance and popularity, in many cases) like most other sports, so this seems like a nice way of doing the same thing for golfers who play an individual sport and would otherwise miss out on that opportunity.

PGA players already engage in a popularity contest, because the more popular you are the more you earn from sponsorships - regardless of on-course performance. Sponsorships are where many, if not most, players earn the bulk of their income. This popularity prize isn't going to change any of that, it just seems like a way for the Tour to recognize the effect a player's personal brand has on the value and income of the organization as a whole. Certainly a more data-driven and scientific way of rewarding people than the backroom deals distributing media money in other sports.

I'm all in favor of this as long as it doesn't turn into American Idol-style voting on a weekly, monthly, or even yearly basis. That's just feels cheap/cheesy and not truly representative of the value any particular player is providing to the organization as a whole. That said, I would ideally like to see everybody on Tour being ranked and paid rather than just the top 10, even if it means a slightly smaller cut for the players at the very top. Could just treat it like a $40 million tournament purse for your payouts, big money for winning/top-3 and progressive prizes from there. Then even the mid-level and smaller name pros are recognized for their contributions instead of only the top 10, because they still provide value to the Tour.

Edited by Pretzel
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The PGA Tour is, for particle purposes, a union that tries to maximize the benefits for its members. If you look closely at some of the tour rules, they seem to favor current members a bit over future/potential members. I think if I was tour member I'd be pretty piqued by this - basically the tour is favoring some members over others. Isn't that what sponsor dollars are for? The entire concept seems counter to what the tour is supposed to be.

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  • iacas changed the title to PGA Tour Creates $40 Million Player Impact Program (PIP)

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