Tiger Woods plays the 2020 PGA Championship at Harding Park.

Tiger Woods has not made a competitive round in 2021, but is still expected to earn most of the PGA Tour player impact program money, according to publicly available data and what we know about how whose Tour will distribute its $ 40 million PIP fund.

This is by my estimates based on the data, what the PGA Tour has said about the program and what has been reported by other golf outlets.

Before we get into the thick of it, here’s the background to the PGA Tour’s PIP Money. It is a backlash of $ 40 million to the Premier Golf League, which is said to have suspended large sums of money to attract the stars of the PGA Tour. The PIP will distribute an eight-figure prize pool to the 10 players of the Tour with the best “Impact Score”, including $ 8 million to the best player.

The program was not known to the public until Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch revealed its existence in April. According to his reports, the “impact score” is based largely on a player’s digital footprint, including search volume, Nielsen brand ratings, Q rating and overall media impact. social and digital. Here is the full list, to our knowledge:

  • Popularity in Google searches
  • Nielsen brand exposure assessment (“rounds 3 and 4,” a PGA Tour spokesperson wrote in an email to SI.com)
  • Q-Rating
  • MVP Index rating, which “gauges the value of a player’s engagement on social and digital channels”
  • Meltwater Mentions (a social media monitoring tool)

Here’s how I estimated who’s leading this season (you can see the raw data on a spreadsheet here).

I compared all the top 50 golfers in the official world golf rankings – as well as Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler, as they would have been in the top 10 in the Impact Score rankings in 2019 – against Bryson DeChambeau on Google Trends to gauge interest relative research since the start of the season.

I chose DeChambeau as a relative litmus test, given the media coverage he drives. He doesn’t drive either so a lot of coverage that he would outshine any other player in a direct comparison (for example, Woods’ research interest is about five times that of DeChambeau this season, so comparing every player to Tiger doesn’t have as much of a practical sense).

I also measured the number of Twitter and Instagram followers for each player, as well as the number of Google News search results for each player, as a proxy to measure the media coverage that a player drives, as some of the metrics used in the Player Impact Program are not publicly available. I gave each player a rank based on their interest in Google Trends, Twitter and Instagram followers, and Google News results, and then created an overall rank that weighed each category as well.

Tiger, of course, is recovering from injuries sustained in a car accident. But Woods is still eligible for the Player Impact Program, as are all current regular members of the PGA Tour who have played in at least five Co-sponsored or approved Tour events in at least one of the previous five seasons. Also eligible are current PGA Tour Champions players who have played in at least 10 combined PGA Tour or Champions events in at least one of the previous five seasons.

Since only one of the factors – the exposure rating of the Nielsen brand – is even tangentially related to participating in tournaments, since this rating results from the exposure that a player generates on broadcasts, players high profile players who are not necessarily in Tour contention on a weekly basis could still earn a higher impact score.

While player rankings from the FedExCup Points List are not part of a player’s impact score, a PGA Tour spokesperson wrote in an email, “although it can be argued that if a player is at the top of the FedExCup points list, then they play well, there will be more articles in the media, more social talk, etc. ”, so there is always an indirect link to performance on the course in the program.

PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said during the Tour Championship that the schedule is based on the calendar year and the league has no plans to announce the winner.

PGA Tour 2021 player impact program: expected arrival

Here are the players we plan to finish in the top 10 of the PGA Tour Player Impact Program for 2021:

1. Tiger wood

Tiger Woods plays a practice round at the Masters 2020.

Tiger Woods has 6.5 million Twitter followers and 2.7 million Instagram followers.

It’s no surprise that no one on the PGA Tour is garnering interest in Google searches or media coverage anymore, and that no one eclipses their 6.5 million Twitter followers and 2.7 million subscribers. Instagram.

A spokesperson for the PGA Tour confirmed that Woods was still eligible for the Player Impact Program.

2. Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy at the 2021 PGA Championship.

Rory McIlroy has huge success on social media.

McIroy is second behind Tiger on Twitter and Instagram, and he’s third in Google News results, so the four-time major winner and two-time PGA Tour winner will likely bring home a big change from the first season. of the player impact program.

3. Jordan Spieth

Spieth excels on social media with two million Twitter followers and 1.6 million Instagram followers, both ranked fourth among players reviewed.

4. Phil Mickelson

The reigning PGA Championship winner and six-time Major Champion has shown that it’s not just millennials who are good at social media. Its 1.2 million Instagram followers rank fifth among gamers reviewed and its approximately 782,000 Twitter followers rank 11th.

Only five players have more results on Google News, as Lefty continues to generate media coverage.

5. Dustin Johnson

The world’s No.2 player has over two million combined followers on Instagram and Twitter and he ranks second in media coverage, based on results from Google News.

6. Bryson De Chambeau

DeChambeau, the 2020 US Open champion, remained in the OWGR’s top 10 for about a year, with only a week ranked outside the top 10 at No.11, and right now he’s a part of the conversation – as you wish. define that, in terms of social, digital and related media interest – as much as almost any player on the PGA Tour.

7. Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler plays the 3M Open 2021.

Rickie Fowler is one of the most popular stars in the game, even outside of the OWGR top 100.

In early October, Fowler was ranked No.125 in the OWGR, his best result of the 2020-21 season being a T8 in the PGA Championship. He’s missed the cut in four of his last nine tournaments and he’s only finished in the top 30 twice.

But Fowler is still one of golf’s biggest stars – the stars being defined by the metrics that go into his impact score.

8. Justin Thomas

Golf week reported that “it is believed that the formula used to calculate impact scores will distinguish between positive and negative coverage generated by a player.” When Morning reading analyzed search interest in PGA Tour players using Google Trends, which measures online search interest, search interest in Thomas increased in January, when he was surprised by a hot mic saying a homophobic insult. Thomas and Fowler had the same average score in our analysis, so we gave Fowler the edge, given that not all of Thomas’ publicity was good publicity.

In an email to Morning reading, a spokesperson for the PGA Tour said: “The commissioner has the discretion to change a player’s impact score due to negative coverage if necessary”, when asked questions, in general, on the potential negative impacts of negative media coverage.

9. Brooks Koepka

Koepka was the world’s No.1 player at this time last year and he has since dropped to 13th place in the OWGR, but has climbed back into the top 10 with three consecutive top-six rankings in the US Open, Travelers Championship and Open Championship. . Among the players examined, Koepka ranks between eighth and 12th place in the results of Twitter, Instagram and Google News.

10. Jon Rahm

Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm at the 2021 Ryder Cup.

Jon Rahm (right, with Sergio Garcia) was one of Team Europe’s highlights during the 2021 Ryder Cup.

The world No.1 player and reigning US Open winner is yet another newcomer to the PGA Tour, turned pro in 2016, but he generates more media coverage than anyone not called Tiger, DJ or Rory, according to Google News results, and he’s the fifth most searched player on Google this season, according to Google Trends.

Players just outside the top 10 (and Jim Herman)

Here are the players who narrowly missed the cut: Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Tony Finau, Collin Morikawa, Hideki Matsuyama, Xander Sc chaudele and Patrick Reed.

It’s also worth highlighting Jim Herman, the world’s No. 162 player, who has become something of a sarcastic heel for the Player Impact Program and his $ 40 million prize pool. Following the announcement of DeChambeau and Koepka’s 12-hole competition in Las Vegas during Thanksgiving week in early October, Herman tweeted quote Golf Digest, writing: “The best way to show that you don’t fall for #thirstTrap is to like me and retweet me. #PiP # 40,000,000. “

The hashtags #PiP and # 40,000,000 have become Herman’s favorites, which he tweets about his alma mater Cincinnati and his undefeated start to the college football season, or defend that the carpool line in his local school district should be determined by the official world golf parenting rankings.

As entertaining as Herman’s campaign has been, and as valid as its underlying argument may be, he will unfortunately be ignoring the 2021 player impact program. His combined Twitter and Instagram account barely exceeds 20,000. and its relative interest in online research compared to DeChambeau does not show up on Google Trends.

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