Report: Mickelson Misses Out On Player Impact Program Win

The controversial 51-year-old’s week may have just gone from bad to worse

Phil Mickelson on day two of the 2022 Saudi International
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s safe to say that the last 24 hours have not been the most auspicious of Phil Mickelson’s career. First, he released a statement apologising for his recent remarks concerning the reported Saudi Golf League and the PGA Tour. Not only that, but in the statement, Lefty also strongly hinted that he would take a spell away from the game. Next, it was announced that he and one of his long-term sponsors had agreed to end their relationship. There were also rumours that the PGA Tour would suspend him, while he then faced a considerable backlash to his statement from leading figures in the game.

However, it seems the bad news isn’t stopping there for the 51-year-old. The latest news comes from Golf Channel writer Rex Hoggard, who claims that some players have been told that, contrary to reports, it was Tiger Woods, not Mickelson, who won last year’s Player Impact Program. Hoggard admitted in his tweet that the news is unconfirmed. However, it will come as another blow to the six-time Major winner if true. The Player Impact Program is a $40 million prize pool shared between the top 10 players based on metrics including search engine traffic, media attention and social media engagement.

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Mickelson himself used Twitter on 29 December last year to send his thanks for helping him win the 2021 Player Impact Program. He said: “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 a while. See you in Kapalua.” There were doubts as to how serious Mickelson was being about winning the PIP at the time. The American is known for his often tongue-in-cheek tweets, while the final PIP rankings weren’t expected to be sent to the Tour membership until this month. Meanwhile, in the days leading up to his late-December tweet, Mickelson had engaged in several controversial subjects on Twitter, from COVID-19 to the restrictions on golf’s green-reading books, fuelling suggestions that he may have been trying to drive engagement to improve his chances of winning.

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Ominously, Mickelson concluded his “thank you” tweet with the words: “P.S. I’ll try and find another hot controversial topic soon.” Little did anyone know at the time just how true those words – regardless of their seriousness – proved. If, indeed, Woods has pipped Mickelson to the top spot, not only is it another blow in an already damaging week for Lefty, but the prize money he receives will be $2 million less than the $8m he would have banked for finishing on top of the pile.

Mike Hall
Mike Hall

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.