By Andrew Wright published
Phil Mickelson has taken to Twitter to claim that he has topped the PGA Tour's controversial Player Impact Program (PIP) rankings for 2021.
The 51-year-old winner of six majors, including an epic triumph at this year’s PGA Championship, has long been a fan favourite, something which now appears set to be rewarded via a cool $8 million bonus.
To his near-million followers, Mickelson tweeted: “I’d like to thank all the crazies (and real supporters too) for helping me win the PIP!! To get the 2nd half of the money I have to add an event I haven’t played in awhile. See you in Kapalua.
“P.S. I’ll try and find another hot controversial topic soon.”
I’d like to thank all the crazies (and real supporters too) for…………………Helping me win the PiP!!To get the 2nd half of the money I have to add an event I haven’t played in awhile. See you in Kapalua😘 🏌️♂️🏄♂️🏊P.S. I’ll try and find another hot controversial topic soon👍December 29, 2021
While the final standings aren’t to be released, it is also believed Tiger Woods came second to his long-time rival, with this year’s Champion Golfer of the Year Collin Morikawa finishing in 11th and therefore just missing out on a piece of the $40m pie.
However, according to Golfweek’s Eamon Lynch, Lefty’s celebrations could be premature.
He tweeted the following: “I asked PGA Tour about Mickelson claiming he won the $8m PIP bonus. Tour says PIP runs until end of year & there’s a weeks-long lag in reporting metrics, which means Tiger/PNC impact could still be outstanding.
“Then [an] independent firm must verify. Mickelson might win but he hasn’t yet.”
I asked PGAT about Mickelson claiming he won the $8m PIP bonus. Tour says PIP runs until end of year & there’s a weeks-long lag in reporting metrics, which means Tiger/PNC impact could still be outstanding. Then independent firm must verify. Mickelson might win but he hasn’t yet.December 29, 2021
Perhaps it’s one last-ditch effort to claim top prize by the charismatic left-hander.
The new scheme, which rewards the game’s top-10 needle-movers, hit the headlines when it was unveiled by the PGA Tour in April of this year. Viewed by many as a way to keep its prize assets happy in light of the threat of big-money breakaway tours such as the Premier and Super Golf Leagues, it rewards players based on their performance in five categories.
These are: how often they are searched on Google; their social media reach; the number of times they are featured during a TV broadcast; how often they are mentioned across global media; as well as their Q-Score, which measures the familiarity and appeal of a player’s brand.
Using these metrics, the PGA Tour algorithm then comes up with an ‘Impact Score’, which determines the final pecking order and breakdown of the $40m prize pot.
With such significant sums involved, it’s little wonder that many big names within the game have come out in opposition since its introduction. One such critic is Mel Reid, who lamented that the money is being used to further compensate the sport's highest earners.
She told Golf Monthly earlier in the year: “I just don’t understand why they need to do that, these boys get so much money already. I feel like they could use that money a lot better in grassroots golf or developing the game or helping minority foundations trying to get kids into golf.”
In response to arguments such as Reid’s, Justin Thomas defended the tour’s latest initiative, saying: “Earning money for being the reason our TV deals/purses/recognition of the game/growth of the game etc has happened. So as much as the “rich get richer” thing applies to this to some, none of us would be in the position we are without the people making golf what it is now.”
Earning money for being the reason our TV deals/purses/recognition of the game/growth of the game etc has happened. So as much as the “rich get richer” thing applies to this to some, none of us would be in the position we are without the people making golf what it is nowDecember 30, 2021
Incidentally, as part of the PGA Tour’s mammoth cash injection for the 2021-22 season, the PIP pot is set to increase to $50m.
A lifelong golf fan, Andy graduated in 2019 with a degree in Sports Journalism and got his first role in the industry as the Instruction Editor for National Club Golfer. From there, he went on to enjoy a spell freelancing for Stats Perform covering football, and then for RacingNews365 covering Formula 1, but he couldn't turn down the opportunity to get back into the sport he grew up watching and playing. He now covers a mixture of equipment, instruction and news for Golf Monthly's website and print title.
Andy took up the game at the age of seven and even harboured ambitions of a career in the professional ranks for a spell. That didn’t pan out, but he still enjoys his weekend golf at Royal Troon and holds a handicap of 1. As a side note, he's made five holes-in-one and could quite possibly be Retief Goosen’s biggest fan.
As well as the above, some of Andy's work has featured on websites such as goal.com, dailyrecord.co.uk, and theopen.com.
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