The PGA Tour did not always like sports betting. In recent years, the league has rejected efforts by gambling operators to sponsor events and demanded integrity fees in legislation.
But the commissioner of the PGA Tour, Jay Monahan, has reversed the Tour’s long-standing pushback and instead, embraced sports betting as a way for the PGA to stay relevant long after Tiger Woods is gone.
Golf is one of the few sports that lends itself to several types of betting. From long-term proposition bets to live shot by shot betting, the opportunities for exciting wagers are endless.
Unlike other sports such as football, baseball, and basketball, the PGA Tour has over one hundred golfers teeing it up each week, allowing for millions of combinations of bets to be made.
With the potential increase in engagement, PGA Tour commissioner Monahan believes now is the time to embrace sports betting in the sport.
“We’ve spent a lot of time over the last two and a half years clearly understanding all of our options and getting ourselves in a position where we can participate,” said Monahan.
“Participate with the right partners, and participate in a way that we think resonates with fans.”
“Without getting in front of it, I think you can expect to hear developments from us in the second half of this year,” he concluded.
If you don’t think that Tiger Woods has propped up golf ratings and excitement for decades, then look at the ratings of this year’s PGA Championship.
With Woods missing the cut and Brooks Koepka dominating the field, ratings for the major delivered its third-lowest overnight number since 1995.
Last year with Woods finishing second in the event, ratings were 36% higher than in 2019.
Over the last four majors, only Tiger Woods’ win at Augusta had a rating share of over 5.0.
Simply put, once Tiger Woods retires, the PGA Tour will have to avoid a lack of interest in their sport and one way to do that is by making sports betting available to the viewer.
The PGA Tour made the first step to invite gambling into their inner circle by removing the ban on gambling sponsorships in January.
“Because of the Supreme Court’s decision last year, and because of the direction that we see legalized, regulated sports betting going in this country,” said Andy Levinson, PGA V.P.
“And just because of the public perception toward gaming, we’ve made the decision to remove a great deal of the prohibitions on gambling sponsorships in our sport.”
The Tour also believes having more eyes on the game, through sports betting operators, will increase the integrity of their tournaments.
“We feel that being partners with the companies that are operating sports betting will actually benefit our sport from an integrity perspective,” Levinson said.
“(Mainly)because we will be ensuring that there is a transparent sharing of information.
“If they see an issue, they’re going to tell us about it; they’re not just going to tell their state regulator, they’re going to have an obligation to tell us,” he concluded.
The next step for the Tour is to continue to research and look for a betting partner that will continue to promote and engage bettors of the sport.
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