Amid the ongoing hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the PGA Tour informed its members that players currently ranked 1-150 in the FedEx Cup standings are entitled to receive a cash advance.
In an email obtained by Golf Digest, the Tour outlined the one-time only policy. Players can take up to 50 percent of their projected FedEx Cup bonus – based on their position in the March 8 standings – up to $US100,000. That cap will affect players ranked 1-31 in the current standings, with the 31st-place finisher last year having received $200,000. Sungjae Im, currently leading the points race and thus on track to receive the $15 million first prize, would only be eligible to receive $100,000 – not $7.5 million.
Whatever front-loaded money a player opts to receive will then be deducted from his deferred allocation. If a player’s FedEx Cup bonus at the end of the season is less than what he received in the advance, 50 percent of future earnings will be withheld until the advance is paid back in full.
For a concrete example: Last year, the 60th-place finisher in the FedEx Cup received a $151,000 bonus. Under the new policy, the player currently ranked 60th would be eligible to get up to $75,500 in a cash advance. Say that player opts to receive all $75,500, then ends up finishing 150th in the standings at the conclusion of the Tour Championship, whenever that may be. The 150th-place finisher last year received a $70,000 bonus. Thus, the player would owe the Tour $5,500, and that money would be deducted from future paycheques.
“In a statement, a Tour official said, “From the start, we have pledged to listen and be responsive to the needs of our players in this unprecedented time, when events are cancelled and our members’ ability to compete on the field of play – their livelihood – is on hold. Through the support of our Policy Board and Player Advisory Council, we’re pleased to have found a creative solution to advance payments to players for current and future performance and/or services, which is consistent with our business model.”
Caddies were addressed in the memo, according to Golf Channel. The Tour is supporting a partial mid-season distribution of an endorsement program specifically for caddies, and they will be able to make financial requests to the Caddie Benevolent Fund.
The Tour’s efforts are ostensibly designed to alleviate the financial pressures stemming from having a solid chunk of the season being cancelled due to the pandemic. The PGA Tour also communicated in the email that it still intends to resume its season with the Charles Schwab Challenge, which is scheduled to begin May 21 at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
It should be noted that marquee golf events scheduled well after the Charles Schwab are likely to be postponed—sources told Golf Digest that the US Open, set for June 18-21 at Winged Foot Country Club in Mamaroneck, New York, is likely to be postponed, and that the R&A is seriously considering postponing the Open Championship, slated for July 16 at Royal St. George’s.