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  • Andrew Johnston Slams Big Money PGA Tour Bonuses Going To Tiger Woods And Rory McIlroy

Andrew Johnston slams big-money PGA Tour bonuses going to Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy

Andrew "Beef" Johnston has called out the "madness" of the PGA Tour paying out massive bonuses to its biggest stars amid its ongoing battle with LIV Golf.

In a bid to avoid any more high-profile defections to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Tour, the PGA Tour handed out equity packages to its players last month, which included stakes in PGA Tour Enterprises.

The packages were decided by "career points", a metric the PGA Tour created that takes into account a player's performances and contributions to the tour.

Unsurprisingly, players like Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy were the big winners, with Woods reportedly receiving an equity package worth in the region of $100 million and McIlroy around $50 million.

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth reportedly received around $30 million each. 

But as far as Johnson is concerned, the increasing focus on money in professional golf is "so damaging" to the sport.

"I'm starting to wonder how the PGA Tour differs from LIV Golf," he wrote in Today's Golfer. "I remember when LIV arrived on the scene and Jay Monahan said his Tour prided itself on being a meritocracy with clear paths for the players and them rewarded for their performances.

"Fast forward to today and we've got the Player Equity Program handing out huge sums to players because they stayed loyal. $100m for Tiger, $50m for Rory, $30m each for Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth.

"Basically, it's the PGA Tour saying, 'Here's a load of money from us for not taking a load of money from them'. It's madness, man. Everything has just become about rewarding the top end of the game and it's come about because of the divide. It is so damaging for our sport."

Johnston also pointed to flagging ratings for both the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, including one of the worst audiences for a final round of the Masters on record this year, as evidence that all the focus on money is turning away fans.

"Everyone I chat to about golf, money comes up before player performance. It's not wholesome," he added. "The divide in golf is turning people off.

"You know things are heading the wrong way when viewing figures are down for The Masters – a Masters that saw everyone back together, Tiger playing, a great leaderboard, and the most dominant player in the game winning again.

"The game has become top-heavy and defensive. It's like football – a player has a good season for his club or there's a threat of him leaving and he's rewarded with this enormous contract to push his value up or to keep him at the club."

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