After much anticipation, this year’s Player Impact Program (PIP) list has at long last been revealed, and in the worst-kept secret on Tour, it was Tiger Woods who won for a second consecutive year.
Even after being sidelined for much of the season due to leg and back injuries, Woods remained as popular as ever with the golf community. Many fans now await his highly anticipated return to the course once again. Tiger Woods’ victory also comes with a handsome payday of $15 million.
Rory McIlroy ($12 million), Jordan Spieth ($9 million), Justin Thomas ($7.5 million), and Jon Rahm ($6 million) rounded out the PIP top 5. This year’s list was extended to the top 20 finishers, plus any golfers that would have qualified under next year’s criteria.
While there were many familiar names expected near the top of this year’s list, let’s examine three names that surprised on this year’s list; or names that may have been left off.
Three surprising outcomes on this year’s PGA Tour PIP list.
1. Jordan Spieth
There’s absolutely no doubt that Spieth (3rd) should be on this list after another fantastic season. Jordan jumped to 6th in the Official World Rankings thanks to multiple top-6 finishes and a victory last April at the RBC Heritage.
The 29-year-old’s bounceback season was a welcome sight for many of his fans. Regardless, finishing ahead of both Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm would have certainly come as a surprise to a few, as both of the aforementioned players have consistently been the best in the sport for several years now.
This is proof that everyone loves a good comeback story, and the fiery American is a great example of that.
2. Patrick Cantlay
The 2021 FedEx Cup Champion is quietly one of the best golfers on Tour each year. The World No. 4 played in 20 events last year, a lot more than most top players. Even with all of the starts, Cantlay made an incredible 18 of 20 cuts, so you were able to see plenty of Cantlay on weekends last season. Patrick even provided some entertainment when he was able.
With all of that said, how did Patrick Cantlay only finish 19th in the PIP Rankings? Is there a Patrick Cantlay hate-club that I don’t know about? You would think that one of the World’s best could at least sneak into the top 10.
3. Jason Day
Hear me out; the Australian star has been a staple on Tour for decades now. The former World No. 1, way back in 2015, is regarded as one of the best International players in PGA Tour history.
However, it’s clear that his best playing days are behind him now. Day had only two top-10 finishes and he missed six cuts last year. The Australian’s last victory came all the way back in 2018 at the Wells Fargo Championship.
None of this hurt his PIP standing, however, as he finished in 18th place, taking home a cool $2 million. Who did he finish in front of? Patrick Cantlay and Viktor Hovland for one. Jason Day also beat out fan favorites like Hideki Matsuyama and Sungjae Im.
While I am all for historical accomplishments; it really shouldn’t apply to this list with some of the top golfers at the moment missing out on large sums of money as a result.
With talented young players joining the Tour this season and beyond, don’t be surprised if the PIP rankings look completely different in 2023.
Regardless of the result of the final standings, the implementation of the Player Impact Program encourages golfers to interact with fans, creating a much better experience overall. In addition, if it also gives them an advantage over LIV Golf competition, then all the better for the PGA Tour and its members.