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The reaction to the news that Tiger Woods has beaten Phil Mickelson to the Player Impact Program’s top prize of $8m has been almost immediate, with Kevin Na one of the first to take to Twitter to relay his disbelief. The 38-year-old PGA Tour professional questioned how Woods has won the award considering his lack of competitive action during 2021, which the award encompassed.
Na said: “Tiger Woods wins the $8Mil PIP! I’m all for paying @TigerWoods because he made us all richer but he didn’t hit 1 shot in 2021. @PGATOUR how is this possible also I thought @PhilMickelson won. Did this result have any affect in the last 2 weeks? Haha."
Tiger Woods wins the $8Mil PIP! I’m all for paying @TigerWoods because he made us all richer but he didn’t hit 1 shot in 2021. @PGATOUR how is this possible 🤷🏻♂️ 😃 also I thought @PhilMickelson won. Did this result have any affect in the last 2 weeks? haha 🤔March 2, 2022
Na is unlikely to be the only one confused as to why Mickelson didn’t win the award ahead of Woods. After all, Lefty himself used the same platform to declare himself the winner last December. However, suspicions were later raised that the 51-year-old was speaking prematurely, and last week, an unconfirmed report added more credibility to those doubts. Those suspicions have now proved correct, with Mickelson finishing second with $6m.
Although eyebrows are being raised about the winner, the ranking of players in Player Impact Program, which sees the top 10 in the list share $40m, is determined by several factors, including search engine traffic, media attention and social media engagement. Despite his lack of competitive action last year, Woods remains one of the game’s biggest draws, so it’s not unexpected that he ranks at the top.
Nevertheless, other players on the list were also highly newsworthy last year, undoubtedly fulfilling the brief of the PGA Tour, who are responsible for the PIP, to “recognize and reward players who positively move the needle.” For example, Bryson DeChambeau, who appears in sixth on the list and wins $3.5m produced several viral moments thanks largely to the enormous drives he’s renowned for.
Another factor in Na’s incredulity could be the belief among some golfers less likely to benefit from the PIP that it presents little more than an opportunity to undeservedly reward the biggest stars with more money. The PIP is certain to remain a controversial talking point for players, pundits and fans alike, and Na is sure to be one of many people to question the merit and validity of the award over the coming days.
The full list of players to benefit from a cut of the $40m is Tiger Woods ($8m), Phil Mickelson ($6m) Rory McIlroy ($3.5m), Jordan Spieth ($3.5m), Bryson DeChambeau ($3.5m), Justin Thomas ($3.5m), Dustin Johnson ($3m), Brooks Koepka ($3m), Jon Rahm ($3m) and Bubba Watson ($3m).
Mike has 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on sports such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the sport’s most newsworthy stories. Originally from East Yorkshire, Mike now resides in Canada, where the nearest course is less than a mile from his home. It’s there where he remains confident that, one of these days, he’ll play the 17th without finding the water. Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.