n the PGA Tour, the wealthy will get even wealthier.
According to Golfweek, player bonuses will skyrocket in 2022, with prize money at limited-field events also increasing dramatically.
The FedEx Cup bonus pool, the Tour’s most lucrative cash grab, will provide even more money to top players this season, climbing to $75 million from $60 million last season. According to a source familiar with the changes, the next FedEx Cup champion will receive $18 million. Patrick Cantlay was awarded $15 million in August for his victory.
In ’22, other incentive schemes designed to reward great players will see significant boosts. The tumultuous Player Impact Program, whose existence was discovered by Golfweek in April, has been increased from $40 million to $50 million. The PIP employs a variety of criteria to decide which players have the most impact on fan engagement, and the most impactful player will receive $8 million in the first year.
The prize pool for the Comcast Business Tour Exceptional 10—which rewards top performers at the end of the regular season and before the FedEx Cup playoffs—will be doubled to $20 million. The Tour has also devised a new bonus plan that will benefit the majority of participants. Every player who makes at least 15 starts will get $50,000 as part of the Play15 initiative.
Golfweek obtained a copy of a memo sent by PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan to players on Monday afternoon, in which he outlined the increased incentives and payouts. However, a Tour representative refused to comment further until the message was examined by Tour members.
Monahan’s statement lists which tournaments will see prize fund increases, and they’re all limited-field competitions that usually attract golf’s biggest names. The prize pool for the FedEx St. Jude Invitational and the BMW Championship, the first two playoff events, will increase from $11.5 million to $15 million.
Gains will also be seen at the three player-affiliated stops. The Genesis Invitational (sponsored by Tiger Woods), Arnold Palmer Invitational, and Jack Nicklaus Memorial Tournament will now each pay $12 million, up from $10.5 million previously. The prize pool for the World Golf Championships will also increase to $12 million. After the cancellation of the HSBC Champions stop in China last month, only the Dell Technologies Match Play is on the 2021-2022 itinerary.
Even before this current raise, all six events had previously announced purse increases since last season. In 2021, the prize money for player-hosted events was $9.3 million, $10.5 million for WGC events, and $9.5 million for the two FedEx Cup playoff tournaments.
With a $20 million prize pool, the Players Championship is the wealthiest stop on the Tour schedule.
“Financial prizes and other perks are expanding at an unprecedented rate—not just for the top players, but for the entire membership,” Monahan wrote.
The Tour’s increase in prize money and player bonuses—much of it aimed at the top tier of players—will be seen as a direct response to the Super Golf League, a concept that has attempted to sign players with guarantees of guaranteed money and signing bonuses and is backed by the Saudi Arabian regime. The PGA Tour aims to develop a series of overseas tournaments paying those same players guaranteed money, according to Golfweek, in yet another evident effort to defuse the SGL danger.
In his memo to the membership, Monahan made no mention of the prospective competing tour.
The commissioner went to great lengths to refute an allegation made by SGL supporters that Tour players only receive 26% of income. In a recent podcast with Gary Williams, Phil Mickelson reiterated that statistic. Monahan wrote in boldface writing, highlighted in a box, “Here is the important number you need to know: The percentage is 55%. In 2022, 55 percent of the Tour’s revenue will be returned to the players.”
In order to refute the SGL talking point, his letter goes on to put forth specific financials. “It appears that there is misunderstanding not only about the level of comprehensive profits for players, but also about our financial strategy in general,” he stated. “Because this is your Tour, it is critical that you completely comprehend and have transparency into our operations.”
The memo forecasts $1.522 billion in consolidated revenue for 2022, with 85 percent coming from sponsors and the Tour’s new media rights agreement, which goes into force in January. Following an explanation of $716 million in running expenses, the commissioner stated that a $32 million draw from reserve funds for prize money increases implies that a total of $838 million would be distributed to participants.
The Tour defines comprehensive earnings as prize money, bonus programs, and contributions to health care and pension schemes. Of that, $685 million is in the form of comprehensive earnings. The remaining $153 million comes from official business partners, primarily equipment and apparel firms, whose contracts with the Tour mandate them to spend certain amounts on sponsorships directly with players. Monahan stated that his goal is to double the amount of money coming in over the next two years.
In a pep talk, Monahan informed members, “We are positioned to grow faster in the next 10 years than we have at any point in our history.” “We’re still laser-focused on improving our core product and investing in our members,” says the company.