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Stephen Gallacher column: Player Impact Program money could be better spent

Dustin Johnson.
Dustin Johnson.

I could think of a multitude of ways $40million (£28.8m) of the PGA Tour’s money could be better spent on golf than the Player Impact Program (PIP).

For those who don’t know about PIP, the PGA Tour has come up with this scheme where the 10 players deemed to have done the most to boost publicity and engagement on their behalf will receive 10% of the pot each.

It’s a lot of money but when you consider guys are playing in events worth upwards of £5million on a weekly basis I don’t really see the need to be handing out more money on the basis of someone’s Instagram activity or number of tweets.

Yes, that’s right, we’re not talking about how good a golfer you are or what your ranking is, we’re talking about how popular and active you are on social media.

Stephen Gallacher, who is not a fan of the Player Impact Program.
Stephen Gallacher, who is not a fan of the Player Impact Program.

The first thing which came to mind for me after hearing about the Player Impact Program was surely you don’t need to play your tour members to do that. If Keith Pelley or anyone else at the European Tour wanted the guys to help out by promoting an initiative or the tour itself we would all gladly do it, no questions asked.

It comes with the territory of being a tour professional.

For me, this money could be allocated to far more worthwhile causes such as developing the game at grassroots level, in schools in the United States or even in developing countries with a view to helping grow the game.

The other is to run more junior tournaments or failing that if the tour officials are really set on making more money available to the pros then why not divert it to the Korn Ferry Tour, the PGA’s equivalent of the Challenge Tour here in Europe?

I like my football and I know there are world superstars such as Cristiano Ronaldo who has 92million followers. Clearly one tweet about his club Juventus is going to reach a massive audience but he should be doing that anyway without needing to be enticed into supporting his employer for a few millions more.

With all due respect to Ronaldo I’m sure he is doing okay financially without it.

I’ve heard a few people ponder whether this initiative is a direct response from the PGA Tour in reaction to the Premier Golf League.

This breakaway competition has been rumoured for a while but details remain sketchy and I know Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson have both said they are not interested. If the leading guys are not going to for it then I don’t think anyone else is going to walk away from the PGA Tour or the European Tour for that matter.

A global tour may become a reality in the future but it will be because the PGA and European Tour believe it makes sense to join forces.

Maybe it’s just me but throwing millions at players to encourage them to be more active on social media is not something we need to be worrying about just now.

Close but no cigar for Connor Syme

Connor Syme

It was a case of so near yet so far for Connor Syme on Sunday as a quadruple-bogey eight cost him dear in the final round of the Gran Canaria Lopesan Open but he will learn a lot from it.

Connor put everything into trying to catch Garrick Higgo but he came up short as Higgo celebrated his second win in 24 starts.

It was his 10th top 10 finish in 67 starts on the European Tour and Connor just has to keep doing what he is doing and he will get there. He is knocking on the door and eventually it is going to open for him.

He will have reflected on Monday whether he was too aggressive or too tentative and I’m sure he will have replayed the final round over in his mind and questioned whether he would do anything differently but I know for sure he will be stronger for it.

The good thing for him is he has two more weeks of tournament golf to play in similar conditions on similar courses. That can only bode well for him.

Seeing Tiger on his feet again is positive news

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I don’t know if a picture tells a thousand words but it was encouraging to see Tiger Woods out and about again following his horrific car crash.

He has the boot on and will be on crutches for a while but Tiger was smiling from ear to ear as he posed with his dog and I’m sure I’m not the only one thrilled to see him back on his feet.

Selfishly as a professional I hope to see him back playing tournaments again and given his amazing powers of recovery from knee and back injuries in the past I would not bet against him returning.

But right now his priority has to be on getting healthy and enjoying his golf and being a dad again. That comes first.

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