• The PGA Tour can include up to 125 players in a single tournament.
  • In 2001, the PGA Tour unveiled ShotLink, which gave them the ability to track 22 data points on every shot made.
  • Earlier this year, the PGA Tour revised its sponsorship regulations to include those made with sports betting companies.

NEW YORK, – As legal sports betting in the US is slowly expanding, the PGA Tour is looking to stay on par.

In an announcement made by PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan at the 2019 Sports Business Awards, the pro golf organization is expected to enter the US sports gambling industry later this year.

“We’ve spent a lot of time over the past two and a half years clearly understanding all of our options and getting ourselves in a position where we can participate,” said Monahan.

“Participate with the right partners and participate in a way that we think resonates with fans. Without getting in front of it, I think you can expect to hear developments from us in the second half of the year.”

What those developments include are still not clear as there are a number of different ways they could enter the sports betting space. The company has already acted this year to begin whatever process they have in store.

Back in February of this year, the PGA Tour Announced that it had revised it’s sports gambling sponsorship rules. Players can now wear and support businesses such as MGM, Caesars, and other gambling enterprises while they are on the course.

In order to protect the integrity of the sport, the PGA tour has also partnered with Genius Sports to develop an educational program that everyone involved in the sports must abide by.

The relationship between the PGA Tour and major sportsbook operators is something the Monahan could be going after.

The PGA Tour And Sports Betting Data

Professional sports leagues such as the NBA and MLB have lobbied for sports gambling operators to be restricted to “official league data” in order to get a piece of the action bettors are putting on their sport.

The PGA Tour seems to be looking to do the same. The Tour has been testing an upgraded version of its data tracking system called ShotLink Plus. ShotLink was originally introduced in 2001 and is already able to capture 22 data points on each shot.

“I think it allows a fan to be well-informed about how a player plays on a certain golf course, how a player plays in a certain tournament, how a player plays in certain conditions. I think it’s going to feed the heavy appetite that people have not only to consume our content but, as gaming continues to develop, if they’re going to participate,” said Monahan.

Although, the new data might be used most for sportsbook operators in trying to develop live betting lines. This has been an area that other leagues have used to leverage the value of their self-generated statistics.

“A couple of things have to happen with the data from the PGA Tour coming into our wagering system,” said Jay Rood, VP of Race and Sports for MGM Resorts International. “We need something that’s a bit more real time and develops some models around it that can spit out some basic pricing on that.”

Last year the PGA Tour announced a multi-year deal with IMG Arena to be its official data distributor.

Why The PGA Tour Is Looking to Enter The Sports Betting Market

After one lucky bettor was able to win $1.2 million on a bet made for Tiger Woods to win the 2019 Masters, all eyes turned to the sport.

“Golf right now is the strongest it’s ever been from a wagering standpoint, and I believe that would be with or without Tiger,” said Rood.

The PGA Tour is also in a unique position to benefit from sports betting because of the structure of the sport.

“On a normal week, first tee time at 7 (a.m.), last group off the course at 6 (p.m.). And that’s Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday,” said Monahan. “Different markets around the world. We have something that no other sport has in terms of the ability to engage people for long periods of time with multiple competitions or multiple ways to present it.”

PGA Tour events could feature up to 125 players participating. This opens the door for hundreds of prop bets and future bets anytime the players tee up for a tournament.

There are now eight states with active legalized sports betting in place and more are expected to join this year. Both retail and online sportsbooks are looking to launch in those states which means betting on the PGA Tour is only expected to rise in the near future.

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