Sports

Would You Bet $100 on Tiger Woods Making a 25-Foot Putt?

Whether legally or otherwise, there’s money riding on the final score of just about every game played in the major team sports with betting being done by everyone from professional gamblers to novices with a hunch.

Professional golf is now taking a step toward allowing wagers on much more than just who’ll win the U.S. Open or the Ryder Cup.

The PGA Tour wants you to watch more intently

One of the more popular bets in golf in the era of legalized gambling in multiple states has been a straightforward question: Would you take Rory McIlroy to win an upcoming big tournament such as The Masters or would you rather have the rest of the field?

Such betting propositions can be intriguing whether the wager is between two friends at the office or in a Las Vegas casino, but the suspense is drained if McIlroy finds himself a dozen shots behind the leader midway through the third round.

Now, however, the PGA Tour is taking a step toward giving gamblers something to wager on just about every minute of every tournament. An agreement they’ve just announced opens the door to betting on whether Tiger Woods makes his 30-foot putt or Dustin Johnson pulls off a sand save.

It could be both lucrative for legal online gambling books and reinvigorating for the PGA, which needs to compete with other sports for attention and preserve network television ratings, especially in those weeks when Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and Brooke Koepka aren’t playing.

The PGA Tour strikes an alliance with The Action Network

The PGA Tour and The Action Network, a sports-betting site, have announced the creation of GolfBet, a betting content outlet. The PGA Tour will supply real-time data and The Action Network will get that information into the hands of bettors.

Golfers in the tournament field drive, chip and putt approximately 30,000 times in a 72-hole event. The new agreement is opening the door for fans to make bets on the success or failure of some of the individual shots while watching on TV.

Bettors will be able to wager through affiliates of The Action Network or other sportsbooks that are set up to handle split-second decisions on whether the odds of Matt Kuchar making a 24-foot downhill putt should be set at 3-to-1 or 9-to-2.

The Action Network is being given access to PGA Tour video and its ShotLink ball-tracking data used on TV broadcasts to tell viewers how far a ball traveled. The golf tour will profit by taking revenue from subscribers who come to The Action Network through PGA promotion as well as a portion of the money that comes from sportsbooks for referring new bettors.

Major U.S. team sports leagues have been reluctant to enter similar arrangements thus far.

Gambling has long been part of golf

Betting has taken place on golf courses around the world practically since the invention of the sport, whether it be $2 Nassau, Bingo-Bango-Bongo, a Skins Game, or something else.

Once legal sportsbooks started taken action on pro golf and the U.S. Supreme Court struck down numerous roadblocks to gambling outside of Nevada, the PGA Tour took steps to protect the integrity of the sport but also to license live scoring data to betting outfits. Once fantasy sports exploded, the organization partnered with DraftKings.

What’s about to happen now, however, is a quantum leap forward for the 14 states with legal betting.

“The PGA Tour is one of, if not the most, forward thinking of all the leagues and rights holders. They realize that their fans bet when they play golf and bet when they watch the sport.”


Action Network Chief Executive Officer Patrick Keane