Phil Mickelson accuses PGA Tour of withholding YouTube earnings

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson has accused the PGA Tour of not sharing the billions of dollars it has earned on YouTube with the players who created the wealth for them.

The six-time major champion made the claim on Twitter in reply to a criticism of the Player Impact Program (PIP) lodged by top coach Peter Kostis.

Kostis, who has worked with Paul Casey, Bernhard Langer, Steve Elkington and others, branded the PIP a “joke” and said that it “shows how out of touch they are”.

“If there's a spare $50 M laying around, how about increasing the purses and golf courses on the Korn Ferry Tour?” he added. “Let the future tour players actually have a chance to earn a living. Invest in your product.”

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Mickelson, the second highest earning player in the history of the PGA Tour with $95million in on-course winnings, replied: “If I may, the Tour makes more than that by using the top players’ media rights for their own YouTube and social channels and getting paid on views (players have no rights to use them). They also are holding estimated at $10-20 billion in digital moments that the top players created.”

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The PGA Tour’s official YouTube account currently has just over 800,000 subscribers and has amassed a combined 825,205,062views  since the account was created in August 2006.

As a member of the YouTube Partner Programme, the tour is able to tap into a variety of money-making opportunities, such as advertising and merchandising.

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The amount of money that can be earned on YouTube depends on a number of factors but a recent report put the average advertising value of a single view at between $0.10 and $0.30.

Two videos that prominently feature Mickelson – who has been heavily tipped to abandon the PGA Tour in favour of opportunities on Greg Norman’s new Saudi-backed venture – are amongst the top-20 most viewed videos on the tour’s channels.

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A video entitled “Phil Mickelson’s new caddie #shorts” has amassed 5.2million views since it was uploaded six months ago, whilst an older video – “Phil Mickelson’s top-10 great escapes on the PGA Tour” – has generated 5.1million views in five years.

The most viewed video on the tour’s YouTube channel is “Top 10 Animal Encounters on the PGA Tour”, which has amassed over 14million views in seven years.

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