Tiger Woods Driving Golf Betting Interest, Sport Teed Up for Gambling Growth

Posted on: September 26, 2018, 05:00h. 

Last updated on: September 26, 2018, 11:46h.

Tiger Woods is officially back after winning the Tour Championship and finishing second in the season-long FedEx Cup, and that bodes very well for oddsmakers as legal sports betting expands across the US.

Tiger Woods golf odds sports betting
With mobile and land-based sports betting coming to new states, and Tiger Woods again playing well, is golf the next big sport to gamble on? (Image: John Amis/AP)

When Woods is in a tournament, interest and golf betting handle surge. And when the 14-time major winner is in contention, TV ratings skyrocket. With the Supreme Court reserving the legal powers of sports betting to the states in its May decision to strike down the longstanding federal ban, some in the gaming industry believe gambling on golf is ready to take flight.

Historically not a sport that sees even remotely as much wagering action as football, baseball, or basketball in the US, that might soon change as sportsbooks come to new states.

“Think about golf, which has 78 players playing at any given time on a course,” George Pyne, CEO of investment firm Bruin Sports Capital told Fortune this week. “All of a sudden, golf becomes a lot more engaging to those that care about it. The betting opportunities are off the charts.”

A Nielsen Sports study concluded that those who put money on a game are 19 times likelier to watch the event. With the PGA Tour hosting golf tournaments in several states were sports betting is now permitted, and the notion that gambling on golf is going to increase presumably makes sense.

Woods Factor

Nothing is better for the game of golf than Woods returning to form.

Last Sunday’s Tour Championship was the highest-rated FedEx Cup television broadcast in the playoffs’ 12-year history. Earlier this year, Las Vegas sportsbooks reported record handle on the 2018 Masters due to Tiger’s playing Augusta National for the first time in three years.

Anytime Tiger plays, he garners so much attention from the general public that his odds are generally half of what they would be had his name not been associated,” Westgate SuperBook Jeff Sherman explains.

It’s one of the reasons Woods is the early 2019 Masters favorite despite not having won a major since the 2008 US Open. The SuperBook currently has Tiger at 9/1, shorter than 2018 green jacket winner Patrick Reed (30/1), 2017 champ Sergio Garcia (50/1), 2016 winner Danny Willett (200/1), and 2015’s Jordan Spieth (10/1).

Just Teeing Off

Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia, and Mississippi have already joined Nevada in legalizing full-fledged sports betting in the wake of the Supreme Court repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA). In the 2018-19 PGA Tour season, three official events, two in Nevada and one in New Jersey, will be played in sports betting states.

Mobile wagering options are already online in both Nevada and New Jersey, which makes placing a legal golf bet that much easier.

Research from the American Gaming Association (AGA) finds that 29 percent of current sports bettors in the US live in a household where total income is more than $100,000. A poll commissioned by the National Golf Foundation found that the average American golfer is 46-years-old, and lives in a household where income is also over $100,000.