What If…~Personality Paid Pros

The most important player on the PGA Tour has won exactly one time. He ranks 153rd in driving distance and a bleak 94th in total putting. But he’s a model for the future of the game, and his name is Rickie Fowler.

Fowler rides dirt bikes. He wears his hat backwards and he experiments with facial hair. He’s close friends with Bubba Watson. You probably knew all these things—but can you think of one memorable golf shot he’s ever hit? I cannot. But go to any PGA Tour tournament and you’ll see kids wearing Fowler’s signature Puma hat.

The point is, the most important players for the game’s future are not necessarily the most talented. Therefore, I want to spice things up a bit and really screw with the Tour’s algorithms by introducing a new stat: Personality Points. The best part of all is that Personality Points are worth cold, hard cash for the players who earn them—up to $1 million per season if necessary.

First, let’s agree to a few principles:

– If Tour players are more interesting, more people will attend events and watch on TV.

– The more people that watch on TV, the more they’re likely to play.

– As more people play golf, the game becomes richer, better and stronger.

So it follows that to make the game better, we need to get more people interested in PGA Tour golf. And the incentive for golfers to get more interesting? Personality Points.

Personality Points would be handed out on the discretion of the Tour’s Personality Point Director. Post a cool video on YouTube? Here are your Personality Points, Ben Crane. Start dating LPGA hottie Natalie Gulbis, even for a minute? Congratulations, Dustin Johnson. Strip down to your underpants to hit a shot out of the water? I don’t get it, Henrik Stenson, but here’s a check.

If you’re not convinced that this should happen, think about all the money the Tour is already spending with little effect. Last year, the folks in Ponte Vedra paid out $4.5 million in winnings to Zach Johnson and got almost no publicity in return. No YouTube videos, few interesting tweets and almost nothing for a highlight reel other than an overtime win at the Deere. Brandt Snedeker made over $11 million last year, but I know nothing about him—which means I don’t really care either way when he’s on TV.

Right now, golf is an untapped market. It’s one of the few sports where players choose their own uniforms and their own equipment and play for themselves. So go crazy, guys. Let’s see some fist-pumps every time you routinely hit a fairway. Let’s watch you play an entire round wearing one of those giant foam cowboy hats from “Dumb & Dumber.” Let’s start handing out the Personality Points like crazy. Soon, Mr. Stenson, those underpants could be made of solid gold.

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