It’s been nearly a year and a half since Tiger Woods played in an official PGA Tour event as he continues his recovery from a car crash last February, but he did notch an impressive victory Wednesday when the circuit revealed the inaugural Player Impact Program list.
Woods finished first on the list – which uses a compiled score from five criteria, Nielsen ratings, Google searches, MVP Index, Meltwater Mentions and Q-Rating, based on a player’s appeal and popularity on social media – followed by Phil Mickelson in second place. Woods was awarded an $8 million bonus and Mickelson’s bonus was $6 million for finishing second.
Mickelson announced on Twitter in late December that he’d won the PIP: “I’d like to thank all the crazies (and real supporters too) for … helping me win the PIP!!” In the same tweet Mickelson also explained that to get the $8 million bonus he had to add an event he hadn’t recently played (Sentry Tournament of Champions).
The Tour, however, pushed back on Mickelson’s claim, pointing out the Nielsen ratings are compiled quarterly and wouldn’t be available from the fall until mid-February. According to one member of the Player Advisory Council the Tour also had the results audited before making them public.
Rory McIlroy finished third on the PIP followed by Jordan Spieth, Bryson DeChambeau, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm and Bubba Watson rounded out the top 10. Nos. 3-10 on the list earned bonuses of around $3 million.
Woods hasn’t played an official Tour event since the 2020 Masters, which was held in November, but he did return to competition late last year with his son, Charlie, at the PNC Championship. Team Tiger finished second at the PNC, but Woods dominated the headlines in both traditional and social media in the fall to claim the first PIP title.