PGA Tour Reportedly Interested in Permitting Sports Gambling on Golf Tournaments

Posted on: April 11, 2016, 11:24h. 

Last updated on: April 11, 2016, 11:25h.

PGA Tour sports betting data
Fresh off Danny Willett’s Masters win on Sunday, golf’s most-watched event in America, gamblers might soon be able to bet on specific shots should the PGA Tour move to integrate its data into betting houses. (Image: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The PGA Tour is rumored to be considering venturing into sports gambling and granting bettors with the right to wager in real time on the outcome of its tournaments and matches, though officials are largely staying quiet on the reported developments.

According to Bloomberg News, golf’s most predominant circuit in the world recently sent out “request for proposal” letters to numerous data companies on how packaging golf events for gambling purposes might look and function.

The request states that the PGA Tour would like to “explore the risk/return trade-off associated with potential entry into the online sports gaming category.”

Officials with the Tour declined to comment on the developments.

Golf Gamble

While a casual wager among friends is common during Saturday morning rounds at country clubs across the nation, gambling on professional golf events is rather limited. An estimated $2.8 billion will be wagered on PGA Tour-sanctioned tournaments in 2016, peanuts compared to the roughly $100 billion that is bet annually on NFL and college football games.

To grow golf betting revenues, the Tour is allegedly interested in expanding the types of stakes offered in Nevada to include live wagering, ultimately giving gamblers the option of wagering on specific shots and strokes.

The PGA Tour keeps tabs on an exorbitant amount of data in real time.

Its ShotLink System collects and disseminates information on every single shot a Tour player hits and immediately turns it into statistical data. Within seconds, after Jordan Spieth launches a drive, fans can view an array of statistics including how far the ball traveled, how far he is from the hole, his results against the rest of the tournament field, and much more.

The bounty of measurements certainly seems capable of generating an abundance of exciting lines for golf fans.

Growing the Game

Just three percent of all American adults say golf is their favorite sport. That’s a problem for the game’s governing body concerned with growing the sport and bringing in the next generation of enthusiasts.

The NFL, long opposed to all forms of sports betting due to apprehensions over game integrity, has defended its position of allowing daily fantasy sports (DFS) into its arenas by citing the positive impact DFS has on football’s popularity.

“It’s hard to see the influence that it (DFS) could have on the outcome of a game because individual players are picking different players from different teams,” NFL Commission Roger Goodell said last fall. “It’s not based on the outcome of a game, which is what our biggest concern is with sports betting.”

Since golf is chiefly played as an individual sport, opponents to sports betting might justly raise concerns that expanding golf gambling to real-time lines could compromise the honesty of the game.

For instance, if a player has a relatively small chance of making the cut on Friday, he or she might be inclined to facilitate a large bet on hitting the ball in the water on a certain hole. As golfers don’t typically receive a paycheck when they fail to play the weekend, sports betting on specific shots is certainly pause for extra analysis.