PGA Tour Cracks Down on Gambling: Players, Caddies Said to be Betting Live

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  • New “Integrity” program announced by PGA Tour
  • PGA hires firm that tracks potential problems
  • Official stance: “Our brand is sacred, and our brand has been established by the legends of the game and it goes back for decades,”
  • Unofficial stance: Caddies and players placing wagers while tournament is in progress

The PGA Tour has announced a new “Integrity Program” to be implemented next year that seeks to protect its tournaments from gambling influences.

The Associated Press reports that the tour has hired Genius Sports, which will develop a monitoring system that tracks real-time betting activity and use algorithms to identify potentially suspicious patterns in global betting parlors.

Genius Sports also will develop an educational program for players, caddies and officials to make them aware of potential corruption, the AP noted.

So why this sudden focus on gambling in golf?

The PGA Tour issued its official stance.

“Our brand is sacred, and our brand has been established by the legends of the game and it goes back for decades,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said Tuesday. “We established this program not because we think there's a problem. It's just the world is dynamic, gaming is a reality in every sport. We think it's the right thing to do when your brand is as strong as ours is to really understand what the activities are and to be proactive.”

The “unofficial” reason, according to GolfDigest:

According to a handful of players and caddies, wagers are made regularly by those on the “inside” (caddies, for example) and often done so in real time with up-to-the-second information being used in markets where live betting is permitted.

One real-life example provided by a caddie is knowing that an injured player is poised to withdraw and therefore loading up on his opponent in a match bet. In short, it’s the equivalent of insider trading on the stock market.

Such live betting is enormously popular in the United Kingdom, among other places. It’s also gaining traction in Nevada, where some sports books already offer mobile apps to customers who are inside state lines.

“Yeah it goes on, and everyone knows it,” one caddie said of live betting among his peers. “It’s not that big of a secret.

“It’s also not a big issue or epidemic. No one’s getting rich off it. We’re talking about hundreds of dollars here.”

- Gilbert Horowitz, Gambling911.com

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