Matt Fitzpatrick’s biggest payday will highlight the extraordinary sums on offer in these crazy, LIV-inspired times when the Englishman picks up £4.2 million for finishing eighth in the PGA Tour’s popularity race – almost twice as much as he earned for winning the US Open in Jun.
Fitzpatrick is staying silent about the Player Impact Programme, with the results due to be published tomorrow. But sources have revealed the unassuming Yorkshireman has finished in the top 10 of the incentive scheme in which $100 million (£84 million) is dished out to the top 20 in standings based largely on the number of mentions professionals receive on social media, in newspapers and on TV broadcasts.
The US tour introduced PIP last year in response to the threat of LIV, the Saudi-funded circuit that has lured big names such as Open champion Cameron Smith, former world No 1s Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka, as well as Phil Mickelson, with signing -on fees of up to $200 million.
Tiger Woods took home the PIP bounty 12 months ago and last week Associated Press reported he had again landed the spoils, despite playing only nine major rounds in 2022. The 46-year-old will net £12.5 million with Rory McIlroy collecting £10 million for coming second.
It is also understood Masters champion Scottie Scheffler and US PGA champion Justin Thomas have placed highly, but Smith and the other rebels have obviously been deemed ineligible after being issued with Tour bans for jumping ship to LIV. For a humble personality such as Fitzpatrick – the 28-year-old who largely shuns the spotlight – this is a big deal. His PIP taking dwarf the £2.5 million he won by landing his first major title at Brookline, but emphasizing his success this year.
On Thursday, Telegraph Sport exclusively revealed that Fitzpatrick had turned down the chance to attend next month’s BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards show – whether nominated or not – and how he also cracked a wry quip when asked why there were so few promotional posters adorned with his image here at the Earth Course in the season finale on the DP World Tour. “It’s a recurring theme,” he said with a smirk.
However, by being rated among the US superstars, the bank manager’s son from Sheffield has clearly made a splash across the globe. His earnings from this campaign have already topped £10 million and by this evening they could well top £15 million.
Going into the final day, Fitzpatrick is on 14 under, one behind Jon Rahm, after a battling 70. If Fitzpatrick can win this event for a third time he knows that so long as McIlroy finishes worse than second, he will not only claim £ 2.4 million for winning the event but also £1.6 million for topping the Tour’s order of merit.
McIlroy, courtesy of a third-round 65, is in a tie for fourth on 12 under alongside Englishman Tyrrell Hatton (72). If Fitzpatrick were to finish second to Rahm then McIlroy would need to come in the top seven to lift the Harry Vardon Trophy for the first time in seven years.
“It would mean the world [to win the order of merit] but I’m going to need a lot of things go my way,” Fitzpatrick said.