"Money driving PGA Tour gravy train"

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Part 1 of Ron Green Jr.’s eventual two-parter looking at sports betting coming to golf is worth checking out to understand what the PGA Tour has in mind.

Two things stood out to me in Part 1, starting with this on sports betting in the U.S.:

Of that estimated $150 billion wagered, approximately 2 percent – $3 billion – is bet on golf.

Monahan said making money off legalized sports betting is not the main reason the PGA Tour is invested in what will be a new world order. The hope is to get one-quarter of 1 percent of the money wagered on the PGA Tour. That’s approximately $7.5 million annually if the estimates of what’s being bet are accurate.

That seems like a modest goal and modest amount given how the Tour has invested in various programs in anticipation of legalized sports gambling. Hardly a gravy train, but maybe this is the most conservative estimate?

Then again, if it’s about living under par, i.e. engagement…

“What that’s going to do is give fans the ability to not only bet on the winner and the low score of the day but you’re going to be able to bet much more granularly,” Levinson said.

“You’re going to be able to bet shot by shot. You’re going to have a situation where fans are going to be locked in and engaged throughout the competition. It’s going to be a fun way to bet.

“Our sport is unique in that we have 72 balls in the air at any given moment as opposed to one. For people who like to engage in sports betting and may not be interested in the PGA Tour golf, this is going to be a really fun sport to get engaged with.”

Levinson is one of the tour’s sharpest minds, so I trust that he’s seeing things to make them believe shot-by-shot betting will be fun and functional.

Our first glimpse into the merging of a match and stats came at last fall’s match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. As slow as golf is, the match did not seem to move slowly enough to assess a shot and the player’s stats before placing a bet in time. But that may change with better-designed apps that react by crafting a wager immediately after a shot has come to rest, sending us a phone notification of the
”opportunity” and making the bet option fun and fast.