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ATLANTA (AP) — Patrick Cantlay and Harris English are among those not expecting to get any of the $40 million bonus money from the “Player Impact Program,” which measures through five digital metrics how a player engages with fans. The top 10 players are rewarded.
Cantlay is No. 4 in the world — that’s for his golf. He doesn’t know his PIP rating, which goes until the end of the year.
“I doubt I’m doing very well in that category,” he said.
But he knows what he would do with the money.
“If I were to win any portion of the 10, I would let you know and I would be compelled to give all that money back to the fans that made it possible,” Cantlay said. “Because there’s no way a person like me should be able to get into the top 10 of the PIP if not for people out there deciding that they want me to be in the top 10 and to try to get some of that PIP money for themselves.”
English is No. 11 in the world coming after a big season. He guessed he would be somewhere in the 30s on the PIP scale. He’s not expecting any holiday bonus.
“I’m not a guy who’s going to self-promote a lot. I don’t want people to know what I’m doing every single day,” he said. “That’s not me. So I can’t force that. I can’t be fake. ... If I’m up there close, fine. If I’m not, I don’t really care. I can’t change who I am and I’m not going to force it.”
Their outlook on the program, however, is different.
English sees it as a good response by the PGA Tour to “up their game” with various leagues, some with Saudi funding, making overtures.
As for Cantlay? He had mentioned the PIP earlier as it related to attention-seeking moves eliciting the wrong kind of fan behavior.
“I think it’s kind of ridiculous and I think it’s, when I said there’s a symptom of a larger problem, I think that’s exactly what I’m talking about,” he said.
Collin Morikawa has no issues with his back, which first flared up during the opening round of the Olympics and surfaced again right before the playoff.
He was more bothered by playing hurt and developing bad patterns in his swing.
The British Open champion thinks he’s back to normal, and the timing couldn’t be better. Morikawa began the postseason as the No. 1 season, and after a missed cut and a tie for 63rd, his FedEx Cup position is No. 11.
That means he starts the Tour Championship seven shots behind.
“It’s just the patterns I built into my swing when I played injured just created such a bad habit,” he said. “So I was trying to teach myself last week how to swing like my old self. We’re working back there. I would call it 95% back to the original swing. There’s just a couple little kinks here and there that show up.”
He has no regrets going to Tokyo for the Olympics. Morikawa says his mistake was playing hurt the following week at a World Golf Championship in Memphis, Tennessee. He tied for 26th that week, but the bad patterns began to take root.
“I know what my swing does, right? I’ve done it for my entire life,” he said. “PGA Tour players are so good at repeating something, so when I do something for two weeks, I’m going to think, ‘Oh, that’s what my normal is,’ when really my normal is not that. It’s because I was protecting away from not trying to injure it even more.”
You've heard about players growing beards for the playoffs? Dustin Johnson went the other direction ahead of the FedEx Cup finale at East Lake. He showed up Wednesday at the Tour Championship with a clean shave.
And there wasn't a lot of thought that went into it.
“Yesterday I was shaving and I decided to shave it off,” Johnson said.
He did that ahead of the U.S. Open at Erin Hills in 2017, and that didn't work out for him. He missed the cut.
Odds are this won't last long.
“By Sunday, I'll have a beard,” he said.
PINSTRIPES FOR ARMOR
Patrick Cantlay and Rory McIlroy offered great insight into how the fan experience in golf is different from other sports, mainly in how close spectators can get. There are fist bumps (pre-COVID 19) going to the next tee, and spectators within a few feet when shots go well off line.
And yes, there are plenty of nasty comments.
Cantlay made an interesting connection to baseball — specifically the jersey — as it relates to negative comments from the gallery.
“You’re all by yourself, and you don’t have the armor of putting on Yankee pinstripes,” he said. “You don’t have the armor of knowing that if you’re on the Yankees and people hate you and you’re playing in Boston, you can tolerate it for three hours in right field.
“But you only tolerate it because you know next week or on Friday you’re going to show up and you’re going to be in Yankee Stadium and no matter what you do, even if you fall on your face, you’re going to have the pinstripe armor on and people are going to love you.”