Gambling in sports has surged since the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was overturned in a Supreme Court ruling in 2018, which started states legalizing sports wagering.
Betting has since become the talk among fans at the golf course, PGA Tour star Jon Rahm said on Tuesday, and it reared its ugly head in a tournament over the weekend. Max Homa ripped a fan for disrupting his putt for a $3 side bet.
Rahm revealed that kind of talk is prevalent across greens and fairways.
“That happens way more often than you guys may hear. I mean, it’s very, very present,” he said at a news conference for the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club, via ESPN. “In golf, spectators are very close, and even if they’re not directly talking to you, they’re close enough to where if they say to their buddy, ‘I bet you 10 bucks he’s going to miss it,’ you hear it.
“You’re hearing the positive. ‘I got 20 bucks you make birdie here,’ things like that. But no, it’s more often than you think. It’s not caught on TV maybe, but it’s something that happens, yeah.”
PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan talked about the Homa incident.
“Our fans have great appreciation for the integrity of the competition,” he added. “They’re respectful of our players. We have seen that continue to be the case and expect that to continue to be the case. We have tremendous fans that have tremendous respect for what these players need to do in order to provide and present the tremendous performances they do.”
Homa on Sunday called the fan that disrupted him a “loser.”
“There was a probably drunk – I hope, for his case, or else he’s just the biggest loser there is – but he was cheering and yelling at Chris for missing his putt short,” he said.
Laura Neal, the PGA Tour’s executive vice president of brand communications, told ESPN that spectators trying to interrupt players isn’t a “rampant” thing but vowed security will take action to “protect the integrity” of the game.