Caddie Confidential: Is fan behavior related to wagers for or against players a concern?

Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the second installment of our “Caddie Confidential” series, with monthly, inside-the-ropes perspective from dozens of Tour caddies on rotating golf topics. On the tee this month: insights from caddies for and against gambling on the PGA Tour.

There are two certainties when it comes to gambling: Everyone likes to win AND no one likes to lose.

Gambling and golf have and always will be a natural fit. But the stakes on the PGA Tour are a lot higher than your Sunday morning $5 Nassau.

As a result, there’s no denying that widespread gambling could be cause for concern for players whenever fans are allowed back in full force. Unfortunately, golf already is littered with “mashed potatoes!” and “Ba-ba-booey!” guy. The last thing the players — and caddies — need or want to be dealing with are gamblers trying to influence the outcome of shots a split-second before a player makes contact.

We surveyed dozens of Tour caddies and asked: Is fan behavior related to wagers for or against players a concern? Here are the results from those polled:

  • Yes: 62.5%
  • No: 37.5%

So, we followed up and asked:

Why, or why not, is fan behavior related to wagers for or against players a concern?

Check out this selection of responses from caddies:

There shouldn’t be a concern in my mind.

Inappropriate fan behavior will — and has — increased.

We have all heard fans scream out, “Hey you cost me $20 when you missed that putt” before. I don’t think we’ll see anything new.

It’s part of the game and it always will be after someone has been drinking liquid courage for a few hours in the hot sun. If it creates jobs and opportunities for people, I’m all for it.

Drunk fans betting on hitting the green on a par 3 are a concern now. It’ll only get worse.

Deliberately distracting a player could definitely be a concern.

I look at a sport like tennis. An individual sport that has gambling with no real concerns.

The player makes the most money for themselves when they shoot the lowest score possible, so there is enough of a focus on what they are doing for their own careers that outside gambling won’t affect their results.

The good and bad of our current times is that it’s easier than ever to engage with people on the internet. And it’s possible to engage behind a screen and potentially a fake name, which makes it much easier to be threatening.

Ridiculous berating for underperformance, especially on Twitter, is unnecessary noise.

It’s not an immediate concern, but I could see someone yelling or screaming at an important time in order to try to change or effect an outcome.

These guys are the best in the world at what they do. They can hear things and let it go out the other ear. The gambling helps bring attention to the Tour and the sponsors will like that. There could be some instances but I’m sure security will remove that person. At the end of the day they are professionals and can handle it.

There’s always going to be more interest in the game when money is involved.

Many Tour pros are used to being loved and adored by the public. The weak-minded golfer would fold like a cheap suit if they get scrutinized at real time.

Long term, not too much. But in isolated incidents fans can purposely distract a player.

You will get a couple jackasses trying to throw a player off based on his wager, but I believe a professional should be able to hit a quality shot regardless of crowd noise.

Inevitably, there will be gamblers getting out of line when bets don’t go their way.

It is possible a spectator gets angry and loud at the wrong time if their bet is losing, but I doubt it will be widespread.

I’m sure it will be a concern for some players. Everyone is different, but this will have to be just another mental hurdle the athlete will have to overcome to be able to perform at the highest level. Fan behavior is part of sport.

I don’t think peoples’ skin in the games would be a concern with their conduct.

Players have been concerned with fan behavior long before the wagering.

As long as the fans don’t interrupt the players while they’re playing, I don’t see it as a concern.

I think yelling or taunting could become a concern.

They might be disruptive if they’re betting against someone they’re watching.

People take gambling serious and can be vocal. So, it is a concern.

Interested in more from our February 2021 installment of Caddie Confidential? Be sure to check out in what ways caddies believe widespread golf gambling could make things different for their player, as well as, if caddies think more betting on professional golf good or bad.

You can view all the results from our entire Caddie Confidential by clicking here.

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