Netflix docuseries Full Swing didn’t just benefit viewers by offering a unique insight into the lives of players on the PGA Tour, it also had a significant impact on the social media presence of its cast.
A new study conducted by Sport World News (opens in new tab) has broken down the extent to which stars of the series, including Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter and Joel Dahmen, have seen their influence on Instagram boosted since it was released on 15 February.
The story of McIlroy’s bid to win the 150th Open at St Andrews and his eventual Tour Championship success provided a fitting end to the series in Everything Has Led To This. As the most high-profile player to feature, it’s not surprising that McIlroy – who came second only to Tiger Woods in the latest PIP Award – retains the greatest influence on the platform.
Indeed, with over 2.4 million Instagram followers, the former World No.1 could command an eye-catching £6,693 ($8,024) per sponsored Instagram post. The Northern Irishman’s posts also create the most engagement of anyone in the series – over 50,000 likes on average.
Not far behind McIlory is a player who featured in the first episode of the series, Frenemies. The ever-popular Rickie Fowler has the potential to earn £5,200 ($6,234) per sponsored Instagram post thanks to his 1.9 million followers.
The two players who featured most prominently in that episode, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas aren’t doing badly either, with the former able to potentially command £4,707 ($5,639) per sponsored post via his 1.7 million followers and the latter £3,921 ($4,700) thanks to his 1.4 million followers. Thomas’ relationship with his dad, Mike, was one of the most engaging stories in the series, and that’s reflected in his boost in followers since its release, with a gain of more than 41,000.
One of the most touching episodes of the series, Imposter Syndrome, featured current World No.97 Joel Dahmen, whose self-deprecating humour and firm friendship with caddie Geno Bonnalie captured the hearts of viewers, and over 104,000 new Instagram followers.
Episode six featured Collin Morikawa and Tony Finau, but it was the latter’s heartwarming bond with his family and rags-to-riches backstory that stole the show, and that’s demonstrated in his 35,000 new Instagram followers since the series was released.
Elsewhere, LIV Golf player Ian Poulter has also enjoyed a boost. Despite losing hundreds of followers per week after joining the circuit, he gained 14,000 new Instagram followers within two weeks of the show’s release. Poulter’s struggle for both form, family life and deliberations over whether to join LIV Golf were central to episode three, Money or Legacy, where Poulter took centre stage.
The most influential LIV Golf player is Dustin Johnson, whose 1.2 million Instagram followers could help him earn £3,374 ($4,045) per sponsored post, while Brooks Koepka can potentially earn £2,940 ($3,524) per sponsored post courtesy of his Instagram audience of one million.
However, one member of the cast who is not even a player has a bigger social media presence than most. Johnson’s wife Paulina Gretzky, the daughter of Hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, has one million Instagram followers – a number swelled thanks to the series.
A spokesperson for Sports World News pointed out that, despite appearances from some of the world highest profile players, it was Dahmen who was the breakout star: “It’s fascinating to see which players have resonated most with fans: Joel Dahmen gained far more followers than anyone else, revealing him as a clear hit with viewers.”
The spokesperson also speculated on the future, but wouldn’t be drawn on whether PGA Tour player or LIV Golf players will benefit the most, saying: “Full Swing’s popularity could lead to more opportunities for players outside the TV show, though time will tell if the biggest offers go to PGA or LIV golfers.”