Golf: Despite playing just nine rounds, Woods tops PGA Tour bonus list again to earn US$15 million

Tiger Woods continued to recover this year from severe leg injuries suffered in a February 2021 car crash. PHOTO: AFP

MIAMI – Tiger Woods, who has played only nine competitive rounds in 2022, topped the PGA Tour’s Player Impact Programme for the second consecutive year to claim a US$15 million (S$20.7 million) bonus, the tour announced on Tuesday.

Woods, who shares the record of 82 tour triumphs with Sam Snead, led the analysis of global media exposure with top-ranked FedExCup winner Rory McIlroy second and Jordan Spieth third.

Ulsterman McIlroy, a four-time Major winner, took home US$12 million while American Spieth, a three-time Major champion, made US$9 million.

The second-year impact programme paid money to 23 players, the top 20 as planned plus three additional players who would have made the list under tweaked 2023 criteria – Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama and Americans Cameron Young and Sam Burns. Each will be paid US$2 million.

The programme, designed to reward those who delivered greater interest in the PGA, uses data measurement of internet searches, news article mentions, weekend television sponsor exposure, popularity measurement and social media reach and engagement.

Woods, a 15-time Major winner who turns 47 in December, continued to recover in 2022 from severe leg injuries suffered in a February 2021 car crash.

Woods finished 47th at the Masters on his return to competition, making the cut and battling through the walk over 72 holes at hilly Augusta National.

He made the cut in May at the PGA Championship at Southern Hills but withdrew due to leg pain after three rounds. But he missed the cut at the British Open in July at St Andrews.

Woods has announced he will play in next week’s Hero World Challenge, an invitational event which he hosts in the Bahamas.

He also will partner McIlroy against the US duo of Spieth and Justin Thomas, the 2017 and 2022 PGA Championship winner, in “The Match”, a 12-hole exhibition under lights in December at Pelican Golf Club in Belleaire, Florida.

There is also a chance that Woods will make a third consecutive appearance with son Charlie at the father-son PNC Championship in Orlando from Dec 15 to 18.

Thomas was fourth on the bonus list at US$7.5 million, followed by Spain’s former world No. 1 Jon Rahm (US$6 million), Masters champion Scottie Scheffler (US$5.5 million), Tokyo Olympic champion Xander Schauffele, US Open winner Matt Fitzpatrick, with Americans Will Zalatoris and Tony Finau rounding off the top 10. Each collected US$5 million.

Matsuyama, meanwhile, has withdrawn from the Hero World Challenge. He won the limited-field event in 2016 but has suffered a number of injuries in 2022.

The decision to sit out the Dec 1-4 event in Albany marks the sixth time this season the 2021 Masters winner has pulled out of a PGA Tour event because of injury.

The world No. 19, an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, will be replaced in the 20-player field by Canadian Corey Conners.

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