Commissioner Jay Monahan made it clear during his State of the PGA Tour press conference back in August that the winners of the $40 million Player Impact Program would not be publicized.
“To us, it’s a program that we created, was created by our players, with our players, for our players, and that’s, that’s what we decided that we were going to do when we created it,” he said at the time.
For the sake of some silly-season fun, your friends at Golfweek thought we’d share how we would dole out the cash. If you’re unfamiliar with the format, at the end of the year the Tour will reward 10 players who “positively move the needle,” with the player deemed most valuable receiving $8 million.
More on how the actual scores will be counted can be found here.
$8 million — Tiger Woods
With just two words and one swing, Tiger Woods proved that he still moves the needle in golf. The 15-time major champion started teasing his comeback in November with a video on Twitter, and continued to fan the flames throughout his Hero World Challenge.
Woods made his return to competition alongside his son, Charlie, and on Sunday, the pair finished second at the PNC Championship, just two shots behind champions John Daly and John Daly II. Tiger and Charlie set a tournament record with 11 consecutive birdies to fire a 15-under 57, tying Team Daly for the best round of the weekend.
Said Golfweek’s Adam Schupak, “Tiger Woods passed the first test of his latest comeback with flying colors.”
Only 1,000 tickets were sold, and it’s no surprise the biggest gallery was following Team Woods. Grown men were even dressed in Tiger’s signature Sunday red. As long as the 15-time major champion can swing a club, he’ll be the PIP’s man to beat.
Tiger Woods with a smile while waiting on the third tee box during the final round of the PNC Championship at Grande Lakes Orlando Course in Orlando. (Photo: Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports)
$7 million — Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka played Bryson DeChambeau and the PIP like Charlie Daniel’s fiddle of gold and he’s going to get some green for it.
“I don’t think his genetics even make him look good,” DeChambeau said. “Did you see the Body Issue? He didn’t have any abs. I have abs.”
Koepka deserves at least $1 million for his response.
— Brooks Koepka (@BKoepka) January 16, 2020
He bullied DeChambeau for months, leading up to their highly-anticipated playing of The Match, which left a lot to be desired, but the two provided content for fans for more than a year and deserve to be compensated for it. Koepka got the big win and the better of the beef, so he gets the bigger payday.
$6 million — Bryson DeChambeau
Whether it’s a positive or negative reaction, people always have an opinion on DeChambeau. I personally wanted to take away more money after the Koepka-cakes at The Match, but DeChambeau earned his bonus.
He fueled the fire and stirred the pot with Koepka, but don’t forget what he was able to accomplish at the Ryder Cup – a 2-0-1 record, including a Sunday singles win against Sergio García – as well as at the Professional Long Drivers Association’s World Championship, where he made an incredible run to the quarterfinals.
In reality DeChambeau should take home as much as Koepka, but The Match win breaks the tie.
Bryson DeChambeau warms up during the second round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany Golf Course on December 3, 2021 in Nassau, Bahamas. (Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
$5 million — Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson won the PGA Championship at 50 years old. Need I say more? Moving on.
Phil Mickelson poses with the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the 2021 PGA Championship. (Photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)
$4 million — Jordan Spieth
The fan-favorite had a big year in 2021. Spieth earned his first win since the 2017 Open Championship in April at the Valero Texas Open, hit the shot of the week at the Ryder Cup, got into a heated exchange with Jon Rahm’s caddie at the Ryder Cup, set golf Twitter ablaze alongside Henrik Stenson with a bizarre rules violation, and oh yeah, he became a father to Sammy.
In other words, Jordan Spieth is back.
Jordan Spieth holds the trophy after winning the 2021 Valero Texas Open. (Photo: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports)
$4 million — Jon Rahm
Can the World No. 1 get some love?
In 22 starts last season on Tour, Rahm finished inside the top 25 in 18 events, won the U.S. Open and missed just one cut. And he still didn’t earn Player of the Year honors.
“Finishing runner-up doesn’t feel too good,” said Rahm in September, who was among the finalists for the Jack Nicklaus Trophy, which was awarded to Patrick Cantlay. (The PGA Tour doesn’t publish the results of the voting so it’s unclear if Rahm actually finished as runner-up among the five candidates.) “I felt like I played good enough to be able to earn that title, but unfortunate situations like the one at Memorial cost me, right? Had I been able to play, maybe win it, I think it would have tipped the balance towards myself. Maybe even play in the Olympics, have a good showing and maybe even earn a medal could have tipped the balance as well.”
He’s consistently been the best player in the world for some time now and always has something interesting to say to the media. Combine those two and what do you get? A hefty PIP payment.
Jon Rahm celebrates holding the trophy as he poses with his wife Kelley Cahill and son Kepa Cahill Rahm after winning he U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. (Photo: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports)
$2 million - Jim Herman
The only person to embrace the PIP as much as Koepka and DeChambeau was Jim Herman.
— Jim Herman (@gohermie) September 1, 2021
Sure, he needs some work on his hashtags, but just scroll through the man’s Twitter feed the last year and enjoy. He might not move the needle as much as Woods and the players above him, but Herman had fun with the PIP and deserves a cut.
$2 million - Patrick Reed
Patrick Reed just might be the most polarizing figure on the PGA Tour.
Golf fans love to watch his short game but don’t love the extra-curriculars that come with it. For example, Reed started the season with a turbulent week at the Farmers Insurance Open that ended with a trophy and a slew of questions. After a rules controversy of his own creation, fellow Tour pro Xander Schauffele said, “I mean, (Reed) did everything by the book according to the official and everyone stood by there. Obviously the talk amongst the boys isn’t great, I guess, but he’s protected by the (PGA) Tour and that’s all that matters, I guess.”
Reed doesn’t just drive engagement for golf fans, he does so for his own colleagues, too. That’s worth $2 million, easy.
$1 million – Max Homa
Nobody does #golf Twitter better than the swing roast master, Max Homa.
You won’t hear a bad word uttered about Homa (unless its in jest from Joel Dahmen). The 31-year-old is a fan-favorite had one of the stories of the year with his win at home at the Genesis Invitational back in February. His podcast with Shane Bacon was a must-listen, and his social game always leads to interaction.
He probably deserves more than just $1 million, but a last-minute change needed to be made to the list.
Max Homa poses with the winners trophy with event host Tiger Woods following his playoff victory at the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club. (Photo: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
$1 million – Charlie Woods
This list originally had Max Homa getting $2 million, but after Charlie Woods stole the show once again at the PNC Championship, it’s only fair the kid gets a little something, you know, for the effort.
After all he did have grown adults losing their mind on social media for three straight days due to his play and similar mannerisms to Tiger. Sure, he’s not a member of the PGA Tour and won’t actually get any money, but just like his dad, Charlie moves the needle. And isn’t that the point of the PIP?
Tiger Woods and Charlie Woods during the final round of the PNC Championship at the Ritz Carlton Golf Club Grande Lakes on December 19, 2021 in Orlando. (Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)