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What do some PGA Tour pros think of legal sports betting?

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Sports betting is now legal in 21 states and another five recently passed bills.

Media outlets are spending more time discussing wagers and new TV shows are springing up to promote the odds and ends of sports gambling.

This week, during the live TV coverage of the Waste Management Phoenix Open on Golf Channel and NBC, streaming service Peacock Premium will debut what it’s billing as the “first-ever betting companion show during a PGA Tour event – a live second-screen experience entitled NBC Sports Edge BetCast.”

NBC will have 10 hours of this content – 2 ½ hours a day – spread out over the four days of competition. A big focus will be how golfer’s odds change throughout the course of a round or the week.

Arizona is not among those states were betting is legal, so fans on site at the Phoenix Open this week won’t be legally betting on a particular golfer.

But beyond this week’s event, how will legal sports betting affect the PGA Tour? Three golfers in the field at the Phoenix Open were asked for their opinions.

Webb Simpson

Yeah, I’m not well-versed in this area. I’ve been in conversations with guys where the only thing it seems like most guys are worried about is while we’re playing, is there going to be more chatter before and after shots or before and after made or missed putts, guys out there gambling on us. Hopefully the PGA Tour has a very strict plan on that kind of banter from spectators to players. Hopefully they’ll put a strict plan in place that we’re not going to have kind of the comments from the bettors out there during the round. That’s obviously something we’ve never dealt with. Hopefully we don’t have to. That’s just one potential problem I see.

Justin Thomas

It seems to be the way, gambling and the live gambling on sports. Obviously as a player, selfishly, I worry about any sort of sketchiness going on with whether it’s communication within someone that’s out on the grounds and could potentially yell or do something to affect a person that would have, say, a wager or something and that’s a serious, serious concern. We’re out here playing. … this is our job and we’re out here trying to win golf tournaments and a lot of people are supporting families and supporting themselves. I would hope it would never come to that. But at the end of the day you can’t sit there and tell me that that’s not a realistic chance. I would hope that it wouldn’t happen, but I’m sure it’ll turn out great, and yeah, I’m interested to see how it goes.

Jon Rahm

I’ve never put a bet on a sports game in my life, so I have no clue about this. Like none whatsoever. … I mean, somebody having $20 on me making or missing the putt is not going to affect what I do. I can tell you that. I’m pretty sure most of us players have a lot more on the line by making or missing a putt. It’s not what I’m thinking about. It’s something that’s been going on since I was a pro. It’s been going on for a long time. A lot of times you hear fans and they’ll bet between each other. I mean, it’s part of the culture, I would say everywhere. I’m a person that didn’t grow up betting on sports, but it’s becoming bigger in Spain, bigger in Europe. It’s already big here. It’s part of the entertainment, as well. Again, I don’t know much about it, but, I mean, I don’t have a problem with it. Fans got to do what they’ve got to do to enjoy the day.

original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/02/04/pga-tour-pros-thoughts-legal-sports-betting/

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