GolfChannel.com’s Rex Hoggard filed a broader look at gambling in sports and the various issues that may arise for a sport that has always enjoyed a peculiar relationship with wagering.
Increasingly, a sport viewed as gambling friendly is beginning to anticipate issues, including one that arose at Bay Hill when Jason Day WD’d mid-first round. Turns out, he had an MRI last week on his back. As Hoggard notes in another item, this is information that bettors would love to have known. More problematic for the pro golf tours, it’s information that others on the inside might have known and capitalized on. Some players understand but may others, who don’t even want to talk about a swing change, do not like the possibility.
“It’s nobody’s business,” said Kevin Kisner, co-chairman of the Tour’s Player Advisory Council. “I mean, are we out here to gamble, or are we out here to play golf? I don’t really give a s*** about the DFS guys. You should have picked someone else. If he had shot 65 and he had a hurt back, those guys wouldn’t have said anything.”
Kisner’s blunt assessment likely reflects a majority of opinions on Tour. There are plenty of variables players must account for on a weekly basis just to keep their cards, let alone worry about the ones that impact gamblers who may never step foot on the course. But as sports gambling becomes more prevalent, the scrutiny surrounding player injury status will only increase.
As with so many grey areas in golf, injuries or illness certainly do make for an intriguing discussion. We all know you have to be wary of the sick golfer, and nagging things can be problematic.
But in the case of Day, an MRI would suggest something far more serious and will be information bettors will expect to know. Yet if the reaction of players is similar to that of Kisner’s—understandable given the independent contractor status of pro golfers—then Jay Monahan’s job has gotten a lot more difficult in the sports betting era.