PGA Tour Pros Survey: Betting on Golf, 2019 Masters Predictions, More

PGA Tour Pros Survey: Betting on Golf, 2019 Masters Predictions, More article feature image
Credit:

Butch Dill, USA Today Sports.

  • Jason Sobel polled a dozen PGA Tour players on a variety of topics.
  • The questions answered include: What percentage of your casual non-Tour rounds involve betting? What's the most you've lost on a golf bet? Who would be your one bet to win the 2019 Masters?

AUGUSTA, Ga. – How do PGA Tour players feel about legalized sports gambling? Are they on board with the PGA Tour’s favorable stance toward it?

Do the pros make bets during casual, noncompetitive rounds? What’s the most they’ve won or lost?

Are there some who wish they could bet on their own tournaments? If they could, who would they pick for the Masters?

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers — straight from the mouths of PGA Tour professionals.

We asked a dozen players, anonymously, for their takes on a variety of gambling-related queries. The players surveyed ranged from major champions to those who have never won; from longtime veterans to up-and-comers; from U.S.-born players to those from faraway countries.

Here are their answers on some decreasingly taboo topics.


Do you agree with the PGA Tour’s stance which supports legalized gambling?

  • YES (11)

“Everybody else is doing it, so why not us?”

“They’re going to make money off of us one way or another, legally or illegally.”

“[PGA Tour commissioner] Jay Monahan really gets what’s going on; we’re so lucky to have him.”

“You have to adapt in this day and age.”

  • NO (1)

“I’m just a little scared about what it could turn into.”


Is it encouraging to hear from fans who say they’ve bet on you?

  • DON’T CARE (5)

“My usual comment is: ‘I couldn’t give a f—.’”

“I’m not playing for you, I’m playing for me. You gonna give me a cut of what you win on me?”

“People are gonna say stuff whether you play great or terrible. You just have to roll with it.”

“The funny one is: ‘I’ve got you on my fantasy team.’ Like I’m gonna wake up tomorrow and play better because you picked me.”

  • YES (3)

“They believe in me or else they wouldn’t be betting on me. I like that.”

“Any way you can get interactions from fans is a good thing and betting is just another way.”

  • NO (3)

“It’s annoying when you miss a putt and you’re pissed, but they’re pissed because they have you on their fantasy team.”

“All I ever hear is, ‘You cost me money.’”

“Guys harass you on Twitter and you can tell it’s because they were betting on you.”

  • SOMETIMES (1)

“If they’re like, ‘You can do it, I’ve got money on you,’ that’s all right. If they’re yelling at me because I played poorly, then no.”


What percentage of your casual non-Tour rounds involve betting?

  • 100% (3)

“All of ‘em. I can’t remember a casual round where I didn’t.”

  • 99.9% (1)
  • 98% (1)
  • 90% (1)
  • “MOST OF ‘EM” (1)

“I like playing for something, feeling like there’s something on the line.”

  • 75% (2)

“Most of the time it’s not much, just 5/5/10 or 10/10/20.”

  • 50% (1)

“Some guys I play with aren’t big gamblers. With other guys, it’s mandatory.”

  • 33% (1)
  • 10% (1)

What’s the most amount of money you’ve ever won or lost on a golf bet?

  • $10,000 (1)
  • $5,000 (2)

“Two guys introduced me to a game called Vegas. I steamrolled ‘em. It got a little aggressive.”

  • $1,500 (1)
  • $1,000 (1)
  • $500 (1)
  • “COUPLE OF HUNDRED BUCKS” (4)

“I don’t ever want to feel weird with a buddy, 50/50/100 is our standard.”

“I want to be able to have fun when we’re done, as opposed to feeling bad taking $5,000 off somebody.”

  • “LESS THAN $100” (1)

“I don’t bet much. Usually it’s just a $5 Nassau.”

  • “No comment” (1)

Outside of golf, what’s your favorite sport to bet on?

  • FOOTBALL (6)

“To be more specific — college football.”

“I think NFL is a lot easier than college.”

  • HOCKEY (1)

“I like it, but it’s so tough. But I guess gambling on anything is tough.”

  • NONE (5)

“I’ve never bet on sports. I don’t gamble, outside of the occasional craps or blackjack table.”

“The feeling that I get from winning does not outweigh the feeling that I get from losing.”

“It would be football, but I know too many people who have lost too much money, so I stay away.”


If the PGA Tour allowed players to bet on tournaments, would you do it?

  • NO (8)

“That’s a Pandora’s Box you don’t want to open – plus, you don’t want Moose and Rocco coming after you if you mess up the wrong guy.”

“I’m too focused on competing and trying to do my best.”

“Hell no. It’s the Pete Rose thing. The only way I would is if I was betting on myself.”

  • YES (4)

“As players, we have a little more info. You’d definitely have some insight.”

“I like looking at the matchups. I look at them and think, ‘Who would I take?’”

“Who knows? I’d probably do terrible.”


You can have one bet on any player to win this year’s Masters. Who’s your pick?

  • Rory McIlroy (3)

“I think he’s finally going to get it done.”

“Why? Have you seen how he’s been playing lately?”

  • Dustin Johnson (2)

“That a safe bet, right?”

“Oh, damn. I should’ve said myself.”

  • Justin Rose (2)

“If you let me have a sleeper, too, I’d take Patrick Cantlay.”

  • Rickie Fowler (2)

“He’s playing too good not to pick him.”

  • Justin Thomas (1)
  • Tiger Woods (1)
  • Jordan Spieth (1)

“The guy has the most unbelievable record there. How can you bet against him?”