NASSAU, Bahamas -- The PGA Tour's controversial Player Impact Program was introduced in part to prevent top players from accepting lucrative contract offers to defect to the Saudi Arabian-funded LIV Golf League.
PGA Tour policy board member Jordan Spieth isn't sure PIP can still do that and believes the program might be eliminated sometime in the future.
"I think that its goal was to help prevent players from accepting high-dollar Saudi offers, LIV offers," Spieth said. "I think that's the goal. If you're going to see numbers that are thrown out at players now, a couple specific players, it doesn't really do that."
PIP was introduced in 2020-21 to reward members who generate the most positive influence in the tour. The tour formulated a scoring model, using objective measurements regarding internet searches, general awareness, social media reach and other factors, to quantify the impact each player has on the tour.
In a memo sent to golfers last week, PGA Tour executive vice president and chief player officer Jason Gore announced that Rory McIlroy had dethroned Tiger Woods in the 2023 PIP standings and will receive $15 million of the $100 million pool.
Woods, who finished first the previous two years despite barely playing, finished second and will collect $12 million. Jon Rahm ($9 million) was third, followed by Spieth ($7.5 million), Scottie Scheffler ($6 million), Rickie Fowler ($5.5 million), Viktor Hovland ($5 million), Justin Thomas ($5 million), Tommy Fleetwood ($5 million) and Max Homa ($5 million).
The PGA Tour announced in March that the PIP bonus pool would be reduced to $50 million to the top 10 finishers in 2024. It had previously paid $100 million to the top 20. According to the tour, the other $50 million will be reallocated to other player programs, including the FedEx Cup bonus and Comcast Business Tour Top 10.
"I think that it was pretty unanimous, including those of us who have significantly benefited from it, to taper it down and find a way to spread those funds elsewhere to support, ideally, fields, purses, so that you still could benefit from them individually but finding the right sweet spot," Spieth said.
"And I'm not sure, I know it drops by half next year. I'm not sure what that will look like after that. Hopefully, it won't need to exist, I think is the best way to put it. I think that makes everybody happy, including those that have benefited from it, because there will be other ways to benefit from performance and just being a big brand for the PGA Tour."
Some PGA Tour players have criticized the PIP program as nothing more than a popularity contest and a means for star players to get even richer. Shortly after Gore's memo was sent to players last week, veteran player Nate Lashley, who is ranked 188th in the world, criticized PIP on Instagram.
"How many golf fans actually know what the PIP on the PGA Tour is?" Lashley wrote. "Would love to hear from golf/PGA fans if they think this $100 million was spent well?"
"There's 150-200 members of the PGA Tour and they just spent $100 million on 20 players. Seems a little ridiculous. Time for new leadership on the PGA Tour. This is an absolute kick in the face to the rest of the PGA Tour players."