PGA Tour Tackles Gambling in Golf as Bettors Like Spieth, DJ, Fowler for TOUR Championship

Posted on: September 19, 2017, 12:00h. 

Last updated on: September 20, 2017, 06:46h.

This weekend’s TOUR Championship has a total purse just short of $34 million when payouts from the FedEx Cup Playoffs are factored in.

TOUR Championship odds Jordan Spieth
Defending champion Rory McIlroy (right) will be a spectator this week at the TOUR Championship, as FedEx Cup points leader Jordan Spieth (left) tries to win his second $10 million prize. (Image: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The winner of the tournament will receive $1.575 million, and the final player sitting atop the FedEx Cup point standings will collect the $10 million top prize.

Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Dustin Johnson, Marc Leishman, and Jon Rahm control their own destinies, as players in the top five entering the TOUR Championship win the FedEx Cup outright should they be victorious at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia. But aside from Spieth and DJ, bettors in Las Vegas are bullish on a few players outside the lead pack.

Jordan has the shortest odds at the Westgate SuperBook at 5-1 to win the TOUR Championship, which would be his second FedEx Cup in three years. Johnson is next at 7-1, but is then followed by Rickie Fowler (8-1), who currently sits in sixth in the standings.

Thomas and Rahm come in at 10-1, along with Jason Day, then Justin Rose (12-1). Leishman, Paul Casey, and Hideki Matsuyama at 15-1 to round out the top 10.

Spieth’s to Lose?

The 2017 FedEx Cup marks the series’ 11th championship. But only one man who’s won the coveted cup is in the final 30 this week, and that’s of course Jordan Spieth.

Last year’s defending champion Rory McIlroy had a disappointing season, failing to win on the PGA Tour for the first time since 2013. While he had six top-10 finishes, he had zero top-three results. He was eliminated from the Cup after last week’s BMW Championship where he came in T58.

Other champs that weren’t invited to East Lake include 2014 winner Billy Horschel, Henrik Stenson (2013), Brandt Snedeker (2012), Bill Haas (2011), Jim Furyk (2010), Tiger Woods (2009, 2007), and Vijay Singh (2008).

Tour Hires Betting Company

Following in the footsteps of MLB, the PGA Tour recently announced the formation of its own Integrity Program that will seek to protect its tournaments from potential outside influences related to gambling.

The Tour has hired Genius Sports, a London-based sports monitoring company that will keep tabs on unusual activity surrounding PGA Tour-sanctioned events. Genius will be able to supervise in-game betting, and alert tour officials of any suspicious trends. The program will be implemented on January 1, 2018.

The US Supreme Court will soon review the merits of the State of New Jersey’s appeal against a lawsuit led by the NCAA that has prevented the state from allowing its horse racetracks and Atlantic City casinos from offering sports betting.

State attorneys argue that the federal government cannot enforce a law, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), on one state but not another. During the legislation’s 1992 passage that outlawed gambling on sports, the bill provided exemptions for Nevada, Delaware, Montana, and Oregon.

Should the high court rule in New Jersey’s favor, numerous states would be expected to follow suit in allowing licensed casinos to offer sports wagering.