PGA's Seth Waugh Eyeing Opportunities Within Sports Betting
The PGA Championship teed off today at Bethpage Black Golf Course on Long Island, and while sports betting is not yet legal in New York, PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh is readying for the day when it will be "prevalent at tournament sites," according to Chris Mascaro of BETCHICAGO.com. Sports betting is "already bringing new interest to golf, especially among a younger generation of fans." It is also keeping its "most fervent followers engaged in different, and longer ways." Since taking over less than eight months ago, Waugh has "vowed to grow the game and sees legal sports betting as a good way to do that." Waugh foresees his organization following the PGA Tour's "lead on rules pertaining to legal sports betting and policing it." That would also include any potential "integrity fee." Waugh "worries about lower-level players being influenced by gamblers." However, he said that other international sports like tennis and soccer have "done a good job detecting irregular betting patterns, and he's confident the PGA Tour can do the same." Waugh is also concerned mobile betting "could upset play." He said, "The problem would be if people focus more on their phone than the action, that kind of disrupts the whole point of coming to a golf tournament" (BETCHICAGO.com, 5/14).
THE REAL OPPORTUNITY: PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said of sports betting, “A lot of experts have focused on the commercial and financial impact. To me, that’s irrelevant. The opportunity is to engage more people and use this as an opportunity to further diversify and grow our fan base, and opportunities for engagement that have not existed in the past." He added, "There’s a lot our sport can do. It’s about gaming and how you can use this opportunity" (Ft. Worth STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/16).