PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has authored a memo to players detailing its prize and bonus structure for 2022 – and the increases are eye-watering.
The Commissioner confirmed an overall purse increase from $367 million to $427 million for the upcoming season.
The FedEx Cup bonus fund is now up to a whopping $75 million, an increase of $15 million from the prize fund on offer for the 2020/21 season. This means that the Tour Championship at East Lake, and the FedEx Cup first-place cheque, has been boosted from $15m to $18m.
The Tour’s flagship event, the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, will now have a purse of $20m, up from $15m. Yes, you read that right. That is $7.5m more than the US Open, which is the biggest purse of the four Majors.
The Comcast Business Tour Top 10, which rewards players at the end of the regular season and prior to the FedEx Cup Playoffs, doubles from $10 million to $20 million. The average purse on Tour is also set to increase from $8 million to $9.1 million per event.
The riches don’t end there. The first two playoff events, the FedEx St Jude Championship and BMW Championship, will also receive a further $5.5 million each, taking their tournament purses to $15 million.
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The Tour further confirms its purse for the three ‘player hosted events’, the Genesis Invitational, Arnold Palmer Invitational and Memorial Tournament, will increase by $3 million to $12 million.
The ever-controversial Player Impact Program, which financially rewards players for driving fan and sponsor engagement, will see a $10 million investment to $50 million. It is still unknown whether the Tour plans to publicise the PIP standings.
A new bonus scheme called ‘Play 15’ has also been introduced. This will see players rewarded with $50,000 once they make fifteen starts.
Monahan further states the new structure will see 55% of the Tour’s total revenue directed back to players. Not bad for a non-profit organisation.
Sign of the times
By comparison, this will move the PGA Tour’s high performing athletes more in line with their counterparts in the NBA and NFL. That said, it has an undertone of the rich getting richer.
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Notwithstanding the private endorsement deals players have with equipment, apparel and other manufacturers, 124 players earned at least $1 million on the PGA Tour last season. Winner’s cheques in regular and off season events commonly exceed $1 million.
In recent months, the PGA Tour has been threatened that its stars may form an alliance in privately backed Tours like the Premier Golf League. The Tour has been clear on its stance in that it will sanction anyone that joins a breakaway entity and you have to wonder if these astronomical financial increases are an attempt to keep its stars closer to home.
In the memo, Monahan writes: “We are positioned to grow faster in the next ten years than we ever have in our existence”. Translation: There is more to come.
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