Despite playing only nine rounds in three major championships this past season, Tiger Woods has once again claimed the top bonus in the PGA Tour's Player Impact Program, according to documents obtained by ESPN on Tuesday.
World No. 1 golfer Rory McIlroy let the cat out of the bag on Nov. 8 when he told The Associated Press that he finished second to Woods in the $100 million bonus program, which is designed to reward members who have "shown to generate the most positive interest in the PGA Tour." Woods, a 15-time major champion, received a $15 million bonus.
Woods, who is expected to play in next week's Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, collected $8 million for winning the inaugural PIP bonus in 2021. He hasn't played since missing the cut at the 150th Open Championship at St. Andrews in July. He is still recovering from injuries he suffered in a car wreck outside Los Angeles in February 2021.
A record 23 players received at least $2 million in PIP bonuses this season, including three (Hideki Matsuyama, Cameron Young and Sam Burns) who finished in the top 20 of a modified criteria measurement, which will be used by the tour going forward.
McIlroy collected $12 million for second place, followed by Jordan Spieth ($9 million), PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas ($7.5 million) and Jon Rahm ($6 million). Masters champion Scottie Scheffler finished sixth and was awarded $5.5 million, followed by Xander Schauffele ($5 million), U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick ($5 million), Will Zalatoris ($5 million) and Tony Finau ($5 million).
Players will receive 25% of their PIP bonus in the Sentry Tournament of Champions purse payment in January, according to a memo sent to PGA Tour members Tuesday. The remaining 75% will be paid once a player completes three requirements: plays in a mutually agreed-upon PIP designated tournament; participates in a PIP service event; and fulfills the mandatory participation requirement.
The original PIP plan used metrics such as a player's popularity in Google searches, Q rating, Nielsen brand exposure rating, MVP index rating and their Meltwater mentions, which measure the frequency that a player generates coverage across various media platforms. The new criteria put more weight on media mentions and broadcast TV exposure than social media.
Five players who finished in the top 10 of the inaugural PIP standings -- Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Bubba Watson -- are now playing on the LIV Golf circuit and were ineligible for the program.