A momentous year is ending on yet another high note for Phil Mickelson.
The 51-year-old, who became the oldest man ever to win a major championship when he won the US PGA at Kiawah Island in May, has claimed to have finished top of the PGA Tour’s controversial Player Impact Program.
The left-hander took to Twitter to tell his followers that he has finished top of the tour’s season-long standings, winning $8m in the process.
Mickelson wrote: "I’d like to thank all the crazies (and real supporters too) for helping me win the PiP!
“To get the 2nd half of the money I have to add an event I haven’t played in a while. See you in Kapualua.”
He added: “P.S. I’ll try and find another hot controversial topic soon.”
In reply to a follower disputing that claim and saying that Tiger Woods was a more likely winner, Mickelson replied: “He got 2nd. I can empathize with that .”
I’d like to thank all the crazies (and real supporters too) for…………………— Phil Mickelson (@PhilMickelson) December 29, 2021
Helping me win the PiP!!
To get the 2nd half of the money I have to add an event I haven’t played in awhile. See you in Kapalua😘 🏌️♂️🏄♂️🏊
P.S. I’ll try and find another hot controversial topic soon👍
First reported by Golfweek in April, the Player Impact Program is a lucrative, new-for-2021 bonus scheme created by the PGA Tour to reward the game's top players for driving fan and sponsor engagement.
It sees $40million distributed amongst ten players each year in recognition of the "value they add to the overall product" and not just their on-course results, with a reported $8m going to the player who finishes top of the standings.
The full list of metrics by which those standings are determined include a player’s position on the season-ending FedEx Cup points list as well as their popularity in Google Search and Nielsen Brand Exposure rating, which places a value on the exposure a player delivers to sponsors though the minutes they are featured on broadcasts.
Also taken into account are players' Q Rating, which measures the familiarity and appeal of a player’s brand; their MVP Index rating, which calibrates the value of the engagement a player drives across social and digital channels; and their Meltwater Mentions, or the frequency with which a player generates coverage across a range of media platforms.
These metrics are then turned into a so-called 'Impact Score' using a tour algorithm. Players are ranked by their 'Impact Score' in order to determine the bonus amount due.
In August, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said that the winners of the PIP scheme wouldn’t be announced by the tour – but it appears Mickelson has made that decision for them.
It is reported that the scheme will be returning in 2022, with the prize fund increasing from $40m to $50m.