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Many of the world’s leading stars have spoken publicly about the Player Impact Program, which financially rewards players for driving fan and sponsor engagement, and this week, Xander Schauffele has joined the party.
Speaking ahead of the Players Championship, where the purse and prize money is a PGA Tour record, the Olympic Gold medallist said: “I was never really fond of the whole program, and I'm still not super fond of it. But yeah, it is what it is.”
Despite admitting he wasn’t a fan of the program, the 28-year old did say he wasn’t all too surprised when he saw the standings and the eventual winner, Tiger Woods. He said: “I wasn't surprised when I saw Tiger as No.1 and then all the boys that have been really, really solid on social media and have a lot of interactions online. They were probably deserving of winning that money.”
Schauffele, who very rarely uses social media, was initially insistent the overall standings would not influence his behaviour. The four-time PGA Tour winner said: “I'm willing to try to make my swing better from a draw to a cut and working on that, but I don't know if I'm ever going to be a guy to sort of pump himself on social media.”
The American did however, raise a valuable point in that Collin Morikawa (2), Viktor Hovland (3) and Patrick Cantlay (4) rank so highly in the Official World Golf Ranking for their on-course performance yet failed to feature in the PIP standings. He said, “If they keep pumping the money in that sense, then I'm sure - hopefully us players can get together and find a better way to do it since someone like Collin, the No. 2 player in the world, and Pat is No. 4 and half I [Viktor Hovland] is 3, the likes of those guys maybe aren't being rewarded the money they should be.”
Schauffele enters the Players Championship after making five consecutive cuts, highlighted by a T3 finish at the WM Phoenix Open. He has an indifferent relationship with TPC Sawgrass where he has failed to make the cut on three occasions and also finished T2 in 2018.
James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.
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