Why Brooks And Bryson Will Have To Try Harder To Topple Tiger

Despite their efforts, Brooks and Bryson have some way to go to match Tiger Woods in terms of digital footprint and influence.

Brooks and Bryson
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Why Brooks And Bryson Will Have To Try Harder To Topple Tiger

Brooks and Bryson may or may not like each other very much… Who knows?

One thing’s for sure though, their “feud” this year, culminating in this week's "Match," will prove to be rather lucrative for them, their agents, big business, TV companies and, more positively, for charitable causes.

Brooks and Bryson’s dispute should insure they both make the top-10 of the PGA Tour’s Player Impact Program (PIP) – a $40 million reward scheme to be dished out to the players who “move the needle” furthest to raise golf’s profile through the year. 

Basically, PIP is a popularity contest, but it’s largely based on digital footprint – search volumes, social media following… all that sort of tenuous stuff.

Brooks and Bryson have been trying hard this year to bump themselves up the ranking. They started off sniping at each other, then decided they really hated each other, then they decided they liked each other for Ryder Cup solidarity, now they hate each other again for a big-money Vegas match up…

The PGA Tour has said it will remove negative coverage from the calculations to determine the PIP top-10 but it’s rather difficult to see what “negative” coverage is defined by.

Brooks has said the “feud” with Bryson is growing the game and even if it seems a little “handbags at dawn,” it can’t be denied that it has people talking.

Negative coverage is probably more like, getting thrown out of a nightclub or supporting a coup in a third world country, rather than having a little “falling out” with a fellow professional… so they’re probably alright.

The “feud” culminates for 2021 with this week’s “Match” in Las Vegas – a real showdown to settle a score – to finally put this thing to bed. Only one man can come out of this matchplay battle with his head held high… It’s proper mano a mano stuff.

Or is it just a way to make some money…? Well yes, of course it is. We’re not stupid.

Tiger and Phil didn’t particularly like each other in the lead up to their first instalment of “the match.” It wouldn’t have been very interesting if they were just two best pals out for a jolly in Vegas… Even if that might have been closer to the truth.

Tiger is very much still at the top of the tree when it comes to public interest in golf and “moving the needle,” as per the PIP scale, (however exactly it’s measured.)

Despite being out of golfing action all this year, it’s pretty much a given that he will “win” the $8 million top award in the PIP handout.

He posted one video of himself hitting golf balls last Sunday and garnered more digital interest than the last four winners on the PGA Tour combined according to estimates.

Brooks and Bryson are going to need to seriously escalate their “feud” next year if they’re to come even close to challenging Tiger for top influencer on the PGA Tour… 

The pot for next year’s PIP is rumoured to be rising to $50 million, so it might be worth their while.

What could they do to ramp it up? “The Mad Scientist” surely has plenty of hairbrained schemes under his flat cap… Brooks may just resort to stronger language.

Perhaps they could do a Ricky Gervais and Grant Bovey, forget the clubs and get in the boxing ring to duke it out?

Maybe a simple arm wrestle or weightlifting contest – they’d both enjoy that…

PIP seems to be a thing now, so the players have an incentive to put themselves in the public eye aside from and on top of their on-course performances… 

Brooks and Bryson might have competition – Feng Shui seminars from Jordan Spieth perhaps? Patrick Cantlay goes head-to-head with Viktor Hovland in a landscape gardening challenge…

Could be… It won’t matter though, because even if a top player goes bungee jumping naked into a crocodile infested ravine with a rope that’s just fractionally too long, they won’t get as much of a digital reaction as Tiger will if he films himself putting on his socks.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?