The PGA Tour's Chief Tournaments and Competitions Officer Andy Pazder has revealed more details about the Player Impact Program.
In an interview with Golf Digest, Pazder discussed different topics that hadn't been publicly discussed before such as eligibility for the program, when the prizes are set to be distributed, the players' awareness of their standing and the justification of the program.
The Player Impact Program began on January 1, 2021, and will restart at the beginning of the calendar year. Its aim is essentially to reward players for bringing more eyes to the sport of golf.
The $40 million prize pool is divided amongst 10 players with the lucky man in the top spot receiving $8 million. In 2022, the prize fund will be $50 million.
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The criteria are as follows: Meltwater mentions, MVP Index, Nielsen score, Google searches and Q-score. But we already knew this, Pazder elaborated on further details of the program.
A PGA Tour member who has played five or more events in the 2021 season or in any of the last five seasons is eligible. This is why Tiger Woods is eligible and this is why he is likely to pick up a sizeable chunk of the $40 million purse.
We will know who wins in February, this is when the final standings will be revealed and players will interestingly be paid in two parts.
Pazder confirmed that the first half of their prize money will be given after the player fulfils a 'sponsor function', such as a Q&A or a dinner party etc...
The second half of their prize is granted when the player plays in an agreed tournament with the PGA Tour. This could be a tournament with a slightly weaker field so that more golf fans are encouraged to spectate.
Pazder, who confirmed that appearance fees on the PGA Tour are still unlikely, also revealed that players can check where they sit in the PIP standings, but not where other players are projected.
A criticism of the program is that the PGA Tour is simply pumping more money into its best players who don't necessarily need it, leaving behind the participants at the other end of the spectrum who struggle to make cuts.
Pazder said that the PIP is "part of the tour’s growing efforts to aid its membership in off-course business opportunities."
The PGA Tour's answer to this criticism would be the Player Partnerships program which helps players promote themselves to sponsors. This has been done using a vast accumulation of data based on age, PGA Tour wins and social media followers.
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Pazder also believes that so far, the concerns of player's deliberately trying to build interactions in a non-positive nature are not justified.
This could refer to the feud between Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka as some golf fans felt that it was dragged out to their benefit in the PIP.
Pazder has certainly shed light on issues of the program that we did not know about before. It will certainly be interesting to see who comes top of the prize pool in February.