Sobel: How Tiger Woods Addressed Betting and Golf in the Run-Up to the PGA Championship

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Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: Tiger Woods

“Gambling is illegal at Bushwood, sir – and I never slice!”

You know there’s an intrinsic connection between golf and betting when even Hollywood — and 40-year-old Hollywood at that — can insert not-so-subtle references about the two and everyone watching instantly gets the joke.

If you’ve ever played the game at even the most recreational level, you’ve played for something. Everyone’s done it. You can pull a Judge Smails and pretend it doesn’t happen, but you know it does.

And if you’ve clicked on this link here at The Action Network, well, you’re probably even more keen on this connection than most others.

Like the rest of us, Tiger Woods is no stranger to money games — and no stranger to losing valuable possessions.

In fact, during the recent quarantine, Woods told a story of having nightly putting contests with his 11-year-old son Charlie. The prize? Winner gets to the wear the green jacket.

So, while Tiger might not be putting any money on himself to win this week’s PGA Championship — gambling is illegal at TPC Harding Park, sir — he understands its growing place in the game, as the PGA announced partnership deals with both DraftKings and BetMGM as official betting operators. (Full disclosure: The PGA also has a partnership with The Action Network and our own GolfBet platform.)

All of which leads to the reason you’re reading this story right now: Woods was asked about the growing golf betting markets during his Tuesday press conference.

While he wasn’t too insightful, he admitted that he understands the myriad ways bettors can back him these days.

“Sports betting has always been around,” he said. “I remember players and coaches placing bets on players, whether the matchups they had or not. But now, you can do it instantaneous and shot-for-shot. It’s very different. But that’s just the way the world has changed, and it’s more accepting now.”

It wasn’t any kind of celebration or endorsement of gambling, but it was an acknowledgement that it’s always existed. Even that might be more than we’ve ever heard from Tiger on the subject before.

So, remember that this week. When you’re placing a live bet on Woods to beat a certain player or shoot a specific score or even just birdie or bogey a hole, he might not be thinking in the moment of trying to win you some cash, but he is aware of the numerous possibilities.

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