PGA Tour

Players divided on new $50m rewards program for PGA Tour

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Australian golfer Marc Leishman (Getty/AFP)
Australian golfer Marc Leishman (Getty/AFP)
Jared C. Tilton /Getty Images via AFP

There has been mixed reaction to the news that the PGA Tour will be introducing $50 million in bonuses to reward players for their star power effectively.

The system, which is reportedly being introduced to help detract players from the Saudi-backed Premier Golf League, will further compensate players who produce the most engagement from fans and sponsors.

Ten players are set to share in the extra windfall at the end of the year to determine their "impact score" within the sport.

The number derived from metrics including their place on the FedEx Cup rankings, the length of time players feature in TV broadcasts, their popularity when searched on Google and the amount of interest they generate across multiple media platforms.

Understandably, not all players are thrilled with the new popularity contest, which will only further enrich the game's wealthiest players in a bid to keep them playing on the PGA Tour.

One multiple PGA Tour winner told Golf Digest: "There's a little bit of envy (among the players). That it's not fair, that it's using $50m not to better our game or our sport or the tour, that they're just giving $50m to the top 10 players to prevent them from playing in another league, which is the absolute worst reason to do it.

"If you want to give it to them because they deserve it that's one thing. To do it to prevent them from making an irrational decision, I feel like is the wrong reason to do it."

Harris English said: "I hope this doesn't cause players to try to force themselves to be popular either unnaturally, or in a negative light to get their 'rating' up so they get more money."

But Australian golfer Marc Leishman said he was more prepared to be more active to get a share of the spoils.

"I mean if you're 11th in the FedExCup points or ninth or 10th or wherever you are, and if you're not active on social media and that costs you, it sounds like it could be quite a lot of money," he said.

"So I think, yeah, definitely it's something that I've looked at, and I heard about it a couple of months ago. I'm trying to become more active, just in case you do get a hot hand and start pushing that edge.

"But I think it's a good thing, especially for the players... some guys sell a lot of tickets, and I think those guys, it gives them some incentive to maybe play extra events or something.

"I don't know enough about it to say too much, but I think it's a good thing certainly for the players."

A document doing the rounds reportedly revealed the simulated 2019 Impact Scores, putting Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka as the top three.

Veteran Phil Mickelson - who has won just two tournaments in the last seven years - and current world number 109 Rickie Fowler completed the top five. Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose and Adam Scott followed.

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