Tiger Woods won the PGA Tour’s Player Impact Program (PIP) for 2022 despite teeing it up in just three tournaments, two of which he didn’t even finish: withdrew from the PGA Championship after round three and missed the cut at The Open. He finished T47 at the Masters, his only result in the money.
PIP debuted in 2021 as a way to funnel money to the tour’s marquee names. The secretive algorithm supposedly measures the popularity of players through metrics such as web searches, news article mentions, TV time, and social media engagement.
Rory McIlroy came in second to Woods. The Northern Irishman was awarded a check for $12 million. Jordan Spieth, whose father invented the system, not surprisingly came in third, and made $9 million. Justin Thomas ($7.5M) and Jon Rahm ($6M) rounded out the top-5 PIP earners.
Update: Commenter Roberto wrote, “Cantlay at 19 behind Rickie Fowler? Seriously! Another knee jerk reaction from the poor leadership over there.”
Say what you will about Fowler (not a single top-20 finish in 2022) but he is extremely popular with the fans and the PGA Tour does not want to lose him to LIV. Hence, expanding the PIP from 10 players in 2021 to 20 in 2022 was done specifically with Fowler in mind, as well as some of the second-tier marquee names.
But how does giving Fowler $2 million keep him from moving to LIV for tens of millions? The money is beside the point. The real benefit for Fowler, as a PIP player, is full exempt status into the PGA Tour’s newly-formed elite series of events, which as the world No.109 he’d be on the outside looking in.