One of the underlying themes of the PGA Tour’s new Player Impact Program is visibility – that is, how often a player is seen, whether that’s on social media, in commercials, or on the tournament broadcast.
And during the natural course of a season, there are few better ways for a player to attract attention than by appearing during featured-group coverage of the PGA Tour Live telecasts, which (in the interest of full disclosure) are available via subscription through the NBC Sports Gold app and Amazon Prime Video.
Which got us to thinking: If the PIP began Jan. 1, which players have been featured most often on PGA Tour Live this year? After all, those are the players who would have been most visible and therefore best positioned to improve such metrics as their Nielsen Brand Exposure rating, Q rating, MVP Index rating and Meltwater Mentions.
After poring over the broadcast schedules since PGA Tour Live coverage began in mid-January at The American Express – through the slated first two rounds of this week's Valspar Championship – we found, unscientifically, that 54 players were featured multiple times and 93 total players were shown during the featured-group coverage. That’s pretty solid distribution, considering they’re only through 14 events in the PGA Tour Live slate.
THOSE WHO HAVE APPEARED MOST OFTEN OVERALL
12 appearances: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler
11: Jon Rahm
10: Phil Mickelson
9: Jordan Spieth
8: Dustin Johnson
7: Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele, Hideki Matsuyama, Patrick Reed
6: Bryson DeChambeau, Patrick Cantlay, Collin Morikawa, Jason Day, Adam Scott
5: Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau, Matthew Wolff, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Max Homa
4: Webb Simpson, Cameron Champ, Daniel Berger, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Scottie Scheffler, Matt Kuchar, Keith Mitchell, Gary Woodland, Viktor Hovland
3: Bubba Watson, Billy Horschel, Marc Leishman, Si Woo Kim, Ryan Palmer, Corey Conners, Jason Dufner, Charley Hoffman, Will Zalatoris, Tommy Fleetwood, Brandt Snedeker, Matt Fitzpatrick, Tyrrell Hatton
2: Justin Rose, Brendan Steele, Akshay Bhatia, CT Pan, Charles Howell III, Harris English, Keegan Bradley, Jason Kokrak, Sungjae Im, Joaquin Niemann
THOSE WHO HAVE APPEARED MOST DURING EARLY-ROUND COVERAGE
(Note: The Tour sets the Rounds 1 and 2 schedules earlier in the week; below are from those listed among the featured groups. The Tour does, however, also show some action outside of its featured groups.)
7 appearances: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm
6: Jordan Spieth, Patrick Cantlay, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Justin Thomas
5: Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Tony Finau, Bryson DeChambeau
4: Xander Schauffele, Collin Morikawa, Matthew Wolff, Cameron Champ, Daniel Berger, Paul Casey, Gary Woodland, Max Homa, Viktor Hovland
3: Hideki Matsuyama, Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson, Jason Day, Billy Horschel
2: Marc Leishman, Si Woo Kim, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Francesco Molinari, Scottie Scheffler, Matt Kuchar, Ryan Palmer, Corey Conners, Jason Kokrak, Sungjae Im, Joaquin Niemann, Tyrrell Hatton
1: Sebastian Munoz, Kevin Kisner, Andrew Landry, Kevin Na, Harris English, Lee Westwood, Keegan Bradley, Zach Johnson, Shane Lowry, Brandt Snedeker, Stewart Cink, Nick Taylor, Keith Mitchell, Branden Grace, Cam Smith, Sam Burns, Joel Dahmen, Will Zalatoris, Henrik Stenson, Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Fitzpatrick
THOSE WHO HAVE APPEARED MOST OFTEN DURING WEEKEND COVERAGE
(Note: The Tour sets the weekend schedules reacting to those who made the cut but aren’t near the top of the leaderboard.)
5 appearances: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler
4: Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Adam Scott
3: Xander Schauffele, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Francesco Molinari, Jason Day, Charley Hoffman, Keith Mitchell
2: Will Zalatoris, Brendan Steele, Akshay Bhatia, CT Pan, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, Scottie Scheffler, Brandt Snedeker, Matt Fitzpatrick, Collin Morikawa, Charles Howell III, Ian Poulter, Matt Kuchar
1: Adam Hadwin, Rory Sabbatini, Kevin Stadler, Ryan Palmer, Sam Ryder, Corey Conners, Scott Stallings, Russell Knox, Mark Hubbard, Webb Simpson, Bo Van Pelt, Max Homa, Vince Whaley, Will Gordon, Jim Furyk, Ryan Moore, Matthew NeSmith, Nick Taylor, Nate Lashley, Matthew Wolff, Russell Henley, Tyler Duncan, Harris English, David Lipsky, Justin Thomas, Marc Leishman, Erik Van Rooyen, Emiliano Grillo, Robert MacIntyre, Victor Perez, Steve Stricker, Ben An, Paul Casey, Richy Werenski, Dylan Frittelli, Bryson DeChambeau, Martin Laird, Patrick Reed, Danny Willett, Tyrrell Hatton, Si Woo Kim, Cameron Davis, Ryan Armour, Pat Perez, Harry Higgs, Brice Garnett, Chase Koepka, Kevin Chappell, John Huh, Alex Noren, Charl Schwartzel, Keegan Bradley, Graeme McDowell, Sung Kang, Camilo Villegas, Kyle Stanley
So, what did we learn here?
• Not surprisingly, they love to show – and people love to watch (it is a paid service, after all) – McIlroy and Fowler, despite neither playing their best this year. McIlroy has slipped outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2018, while Fowler, in the midst of a swing change, has failed to record a top-10 in 15 months and dropped all the way to No. 111 in the world. Same for soon-to-be 51-year-old Mickelson, who has rarely contended over the past year but remains a top draw.
• Spieth is always good TV.
• Early-round coverage selections are the most interesting – those are the guys that the Tour wants to showcase. Some picks were unsurprising while others were interesting, like one of the Tour’s quietest great players, Cantlay (six), appearing in one more early window than DeChambeau (five).
• Weekend-coverage numbers can be somewhat misleading: Keep in mind that those who are frequently in contention on the weekend, like Thomas (one), wouldn’t be showcased as often in PGA Tour Live coverage – he’d be featured prominently during the main telecast instead.
• It’s always fun to see the one-offs – the guys who ordinarily wouldn’t have been featured but landed a prime weekend tee time with a big name. Like Stadler, Whaley and Lipsky.
• Long-hitting Champ and Wolff have combined for zero top-10s this year, but they’ve made nine total appearances so far.