PGA Tour to Increase Prize Money; FedEx Cup Champion receives $ 18 million

by | Nov 23, 2021 | PGA

The rich get a lot richer on the PGA Tour.

The player bonuses will increase enormously in 2022, with the prize money also increasing significantly at events with a limited field of participants, as Golfweek can reveal.

The tour’s most lucrative cash grab – the FedEx Cup bonus pool – will bring even more cash to the top players, rising from $ 60 million last season to $ 75 million. A source aware of the changes confirmed that the next FedEx Cup champion will receive $ 18 million. Patrick Cantlay won $ 15 million for his August win.

Other bonus programs intended to reward elite players will also increase sharply in ’22. The controversial Player Impact Program, the existence of which was announced by Golfweek in April, is growing from $ 40 million to $ 50 million. The PIP uses a variety of metrics to determine which players are driving fan engagement the most, and will award $ 8 million to the most effective player in the first year.

The Comcast Business Tour Top 10 – the top players rewarded at the end of the regular season and before the FedEx Cup playoffs – will double their wealth to $ 20 million. The tour also created a new loyalty program that most members can benefit from. The Play15 program gives $ 50,000 to every player who makes 15 or more starts.

Details of the increased bonuses and purses are described in a memo sent to players Monday afternoon by PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, a copy of which was received from the golf week. A spokesperson for the tour confirmed the memo was correct but declined to comment until it was verified by members.

Monahan’s memo outlines which events increase the prize pool, and all are limited field tournaments that typically attract the superstars of golf. Prize money in the first two playoff events – the FedEx St. Jude Invitational and the BMW Championship – will increase from $ 11.5 million to $ 15 million.

The three player-linked stops will also generate profits. The Genesis Invitational (hosted by Tiger Woods), the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Tournament will now pay $ 12 million, up from the previous $ 10.5 million. The golf world championship will also rise to $ 12 million. After the cancellation of the HSBC Champions stop in China last month, only one WGC event is on the schedule for 2021-2022, the Dell Technologies Match Play.

All six events had already announced price increases prior to this most recent hike since last season. The player-run events were $ 9.3 million in prize money in 2021, the WGC events were $ 10.5 million, and the two FedEx Cup playoffs were $ 9.5 million.

The Players Championship remains the richest stop on the tour schedule with a $ 20 million pot.

“Financial rewards and other benefits – not just for the top players but for membership as a whole – are growing at an extraordinary rate,” wrote Monahan.

The surge in prize money and player bonuses – much of it targeted towards the top stars – will be a direct reaction of the tour to the Super Golf League, a concept that has sought to sign players with the promise of guaranteed money and signing bonuses, and which is financed by the Saudi Arabian regime. Last week, Golfweek announced that the PGA Tour plans to host a series of international tournaments that will offer the same players guaranteed money – another clear attempt to defuse the SGL threat.

Monahan did not mention the planned rival tour in his memo to membership.

The commissioner went out of his way to dispel a claim by SGL supporters that Tour players only receive 26 percent of the proceeds. Phil Mickelson repeated that number on a recent podcast with Gary Williams. In bold and highlighted in a box, Monahan wrote, “Here is the key number you need to know: 55%. Fifty-five percent of the tour’s revenue will be returned to the players in 2022. “

Detailed financial information is set out in his letter to counter the topic of conversation from SGL. “There seems to be some misunderstanding, not only about the size of the total revenue of the players, but also about our financial model in general,” he wrote. “It is important that you fully understand our business and are transparent as this is your tour.”

The memo outlines expected consolidated sales of $ 1.522 billion for 2022, 85 percent of which will come from sponsors and the tour’s new media rights deal, which goes into effect in January. After discussing $ 716 million in operating expenses, the commissioner added that a draw of $ 32 million from reserve funds for prize money increases means that players will be allocated a total of $ 838 million.

Of this, $ 685 million is accounted for in total revenue, which the tour defines as prize money, loyalty programs, and health care contributions and retirement plans. The other $ 153 million comes from official business partners – mostly equipment and clothing companies – whose deals with the tour require them to issue guaranteed amounts direct to players in the form of referrals. Monahan wrote that his goal was to double that source of money over the next two years.

“We are able to grow faster in the next 10 years than ever before in our existence”, Monahan assured the members in an encouraging summary. “We remain focused on strengthening our core product and investing in our members.”