In late April, it was announced that starting this year, the PGA Tour had created a $40 million bonus pool that rewarded golfers based upon attention they were creating off the golf course. In an age where social media is at the core of our lives and athletes are active in creating their own brand identities, this program should be a template for other leagues to follow.
How The Program Works
According to the report by Golfweek, at the conclusion of the season, the PGA Tour will use an algorithm to rank players based on their “impact score”. This score is generated using an algorithm that analyzes the players’ performance, Google searches, broadcast exposure, fan appeal, and social media performance. Once all players have a score, players will be ranked, with the top ten players receiving a bonus monetary payout.
What is the Benefit of this Program?
The million-dollar question (or $40 million in this case) is simply, why? The answer is simple, to reward players for creating their own brand and bringing more loyal fans to the sport. While match results 100% matter in sports, none of it is possible without the help of sponsorships and fans. Being able to create an audience while also delivering for partners matters, and this program effectively rewards players for doing just that.
Introducing… Max Homa
In the announcement was included a detailed report on had this initiative been used in the 2019 season. The Top 10 was filled with all the obvious names; Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, and so on. Which makes this initiative appear as it is simply helping the top earners earn more, or a safety net for poor play.
One golfer has other plans; Max Homa. Turning pro in 2013, Homa earned his card for the PGA Tour prior to the 2014-15 season. After many seasons of losing and regaining his tour card, Homa became a household name. But it wasn’t all for his play.
Homa became, and continues to be, a fan-favorite on Twitter, due to his sense of humor and willingness to engage with fans. Homa currently ranks as the 37th golfer in the world ranking and earlier this year earned his 2nd PGA Tour victory. But he ranks even higher somewhere else.
As of this post, since the beginning of this year, Homa has generated $482,577 in social media value on Twitter (owned content) alone, which is more than names such as Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Rory McIlroy, and Bryson DeChambeau. Given his rise to stardom through social media, it would be shocking not to see Max Homa as a beneficiary of this new program, and it would be well-deserved.
Basically me to all the PGA Tour guys who will be upping their activity on this soul sucker of an app pic.twitter.com/RkoaHsgNKB
— max homa (@maxhoma23) April 20, 2021
There’s always the next question; what’s next? It’s easy. More leagues should be adopting this. The athletes are the sole reason the sports can be played anyway, and in today’s society, athletes are brands themselves and deserve a more fair cut of the money pie.
Millennials and Gen-Z have shown to have higher affinities and gravitate more towards individual players than teams, and it’s time to reward the players for the brands they are creating for themselves.
We will continue to see how the PGA Tour adapts and what other leagues jump on board rewarding athletes for their work off the field and court.