Caddie Confidential: Is more betting on professional golf good or bad?

Credit: Joe Camporeale-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.

Let’s face it: With sports gambling being legalized in several states across the country, it’s now a massive part of live sports. Particularly in golf, there is just so much you can place a wager on. For fans — both avid and casual — it takes the viewing experience to the next level.

But is more betting on professional golf good or bad?

We polled dozens of caddies and here’s how their opinions of more betting on professional golf broke down:

  • Good for the game: 77.4%
  • Bad for the game: 22.6%

Among the responses in favor of gambling, one caddie told us: “It’s a business and more eyeballs on PGA Tour tournaments means more leverage for PGA Tour execs when negotiating TV and sponsorship deals. Which then will trickle all the way down to caddie bank accounts. And that matters, as many of us are working to support our families. And beyond that selfish aspect, it’s simply exciting. You can bet on a tournament, round, hole or even down to the shot.”

One caddie who believes more betting is bad for the game wrote in: “I’m concerned that spectators who are wagering may try and take matters into their own hands and try to affect the outcome through yelling or taunting. They will be removed but the damage will have already been done in most cases.”

Is more betting on professional golf good or bad?

To keep them honest, we allowed caddies to answer anonymously. A selection of responses from caddies below:

Gambling is part of every sport. They missed the boat with taking so long to let gambling in.

I think it’s bad for our sport.

It gets all the players involved. You might end up with a David vs. Goliath event that’s too compelling to pass up.

We need to bring fans in, but that’s a fine line.

Anything that promotes the game is good in the long run.

It will bring non golf fans into the game and bring up overall engagements.

I think it creates more interest and viewership.

Brings more viewers and hopefully bigger purses.

It creates new interest in the game that would not normally have occurred without it.

More viewership/fans is a good thing.

Brings more viewers and attention to the game. I think someone who may not normally be a golf person might bet on a player and watch.

Players will be accused of tanking when struggling with their games.

It will bring more eyeballs from a younger demographic that golf desperately needs.

Any attention is good attention. TV contracts/ratings drive our income. I don’t care why they’re watching, as long as they’re watching.

More interest in the game is always a good thing.

Potential for unethical behavior from participants.

Gambling can only help more eyes on the telecast. Which is good for sponsors value, which in turn gives us more tournament opportunities.

I think it grows the sport.

It brings a larger fan base and interest to the sport, especially during this time of COVID and no fans.

I think it makes it more entertaining. Plus, you will get more people to watch.

Brings more attention to the game and adds a new experience for fans.

Brings in more fans.

It’s good because it will raise the interest level in the game and give it more exposure.

More attention to the sport and fan engagement.

Interested in more from our February 2021 installment of Caddie Confidential? Be sure to check out caddie concerns related to fan behavior for and against players based on wagers, as well as, in what ways widespread golf gambling make things different for caddies or players.

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

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