PGA Championship: Koepka’s Runaway More Proof Gambling Would Be Good for Golf
John David Mercer, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Brooks Koepka
FARMINGDALE, N.Y. – It’s over. Done. As we New Yorkers always say in bad movies that over-dramatize our accent, “Fuhgeddaboudit.”
Brooks Koepka is your 2019 PGA Championship winner, even if they won’t let him have the trophy until Sunday evening.
Following opening rounds of 63-65, the defending champion leads by a touchdown entering the weekend at Bethpage Black, essentially turning the final 36 holes into a victory coronation.
Look, these types of dominating triumphs can be fun to watch. He’s probably going to set some records, either in lowest total score or winning margin or most nonchalant attitude toward a fourth career major win.
You’ll have an opportunity to watch history unfold this weekend and for many fans, that’s enough to keep ‘em interested.
For many others, though, the current state of the leaderboard will lead to an entire new weekend plan, one which passes on a major championship devoid of any drama.
This doesn’t happen too often – in majors or any other events – but it does happen.
And when it does, those who remain tuned in will be treated to effusive, drool-inducing commendations for the leader, each commentator trying to out-superlative his cohorts.
If only there were some way to keep these things more interesting. If only there were some way to keep the viewers more entertained. If only there were some way to invoke some creative analysis from the commentators.
If only they would focus on gambling.
I mean it. For those who don’t want to low-risk wager on Koepka outright at a mind-boggling -550 or burn their money by taking anyone else, there are still myriad golf bets which can completely hold our interest – even during this impending coronation.
Matchups. Low finish without Koepka. Live bets.
These shouldn’t be so taboo anymore.
This would be a perfect scenario for broadcast teams to address the elephant that is quickly destroying the room, an opportunity for smart analysis of wagering possibilities instead of breathless praise toward the guy who’s going to win.
Two weeks ago, I watched pre-race network television analysis of the Kentucky Derby, during which a commentator didn’t speak about wagering in whispered, subtle tones, but instead directly addressed it, speaking bluntly about which bets he’d made and even how much money he was placing on them.
Obviously, the association between horse racing and gambling has been a notable combination since before some guy mixed peanut butter into his chocolate.
So, why can’t we similarly have that outward consolidation in golf? After all, anyone who’s ever played a casual round at the local muni has at least put a few bucks on the line against a friendly opponent. Gambling is woven into the fabric of this game from the lowest amateur levels to the highest of the professional ranks.
It shouldn’t be such a secret anymore.
During the next two days, we should hear endless opinions on which player might hold the most value to finish second place, or whether Koepka might actually play conservatively and should be a fade against any playing partner.
Instead, we’ll hear all about how far he hits the ball and how accurate he is and how many birdies he’s posted.
We know all of these things already.
Those who are tuning in to watch the coronation deserve more. We deserve some real talk about some outcomes that haven’t already been finalized.