The bold Peter Alliss once suggested that golf was “an enigma wrapped in a mystery impaled on a conundrum.” Goodness knows, then, what this dearly departed voice of the game would’ve made of the latest money-making venture unveiled, or rather leaked out, from the cash-sodden PGA Tour. Cor Blimey O’Reilly? You can say that again.

Forget mysteries, enigmas and conundrums. Golf is now wreathed in Meltwater Mentions, MVP Indexes and Nielsen Brand Exposures. And, no, I don’t know what the Dickens they are either.

Known as the Player Impact Program – yes, you can start rolling your eyes and sighing now – the PGA Tour, according to a report in The Herald’s US sister publication Golfweek, has tucked away an annual pot of some £28m to reward those players who, in the organisation’s own words, “positively move the needle.” It sounds like a phrase you’d hear on an episode of the Great British Sewing Bee to be completely honest.

Those aforementioned Meltwater thingamabobs, MVP gobbledygooks and Nielsen Brand whatchamacallits will be used to generate an individual impact score for a player. His position on the season-ending FedEx Cup rankings, based on his actual golfing performances, will be a key driver but other factors, such as popularity in an online Google search, the number of minutes he appears on TV and his social media presence will all be tossed into the mix.

When the numbers are crunched and algorithms are formed, presumably by some boggle-eyed boffins in a subterranean laboratory, the player who tops the impact order of merit will get a cheque for over £5.5m. It’s nice work if you can generate it.

You don’t need to be one of those boffins to figure out that all of this will be weighted in the favour of the top brass, who already command vast sponsorship, air-time and appearance fees, while the rest diddle along as the rich get richer. It’s not a new tale but one re-packaged for a digital age.

Apparently, the scheme was launched in January but, if Xander Schauffele’s response yesterday was anything to go by, this all-singing, all-dancing push for fan and sponsor engagement has not, well, engaged. “We don't know much about it,” said the world No 5 ahead of this week’s PGA Tour stop in New Orleans. “Apparently we were told about it in January. Maybe we were and we forgot about it.”

When you’re playing for millions every week, it’s easy to forget about another £28m. What was it old Alliss said about the sums on offer these days? “I’m not too sure that they all appreciate it. My old grandmother would have said, ‘they’ve never had to save up to buy a bicycle’.”

On the push to become a social media influencer, Harris English added: “I hope this doesn’t cause players to try to force themselves to be popular either unnaturally, or in a negative light to get their ‘rating’ up so they get more money.”

The PGA Tour says there is a system in place for filtering out negative exposure, which is shame really, because a prize-giving ceremony featuring a player with a catalogue of tawdry online episodes would make for deliciously awkward viewing.

Of course, all of this, which comes in a tumultuous week of Super League shenanigans in European football, is being viewed as another counter-thrust in golf’s own breakaway battle. Either that, or a jaw-dropping indulgence of money that would be better served going into different levels of the golfing pyramid.

When the Saudi-bankrolled Premier Golf League (PGL) was proposed last year, the PGA Tour and the European Tour got the kind of almighty fright you used to get with the shower scene in Psycho. 

Fearing their marquee names would jolly off to the unbridled riches of a closed-shop extravaganza, a “strategic alliance” between the two tours was duly forged. When the likes of Rory McIlroy distanced himself from the PGL, there was a considerable sigh of relief on both sides of the pond. Player power was always going to dictate affairs.

In the wake of his retreat, McIlroy suggested that the temptations of the PGL proposal would provide a “catalyst for some changes on this (PGA) Tour that can help it grow and move forward.”

This multi-million dollar sweetener has certainly offered another gold-plated carrot on a stick in a game which doesn’t just see money talk, but roar in your face. Now, what the heck is a Meltwater Mention again?