Monahan sees gambling as way to grow game of golf

Sentry Tournament of Champions Notebook

Hole of the day • No. 17 • 549 yards • Par 4: The 17th hole saw just two birdies all day Sunday, by the top two finishers, Xander Schauffele and Gary Woodland. No. 17 also had 25 pars, five bogeys and a double bogey on Sunday to play as the second-toughest hole of the day at 0.152 strokes over par. For the week, it was also the second-toughest hole, playing to an average of 0.129 strokes over par.

The Maui News

With the Supreme Court’s decision in May to allow sports betting throughout the nation, the PGA Tour is trying to stay ahead of the game, commissioner Jay Monahan said as part of his roundtable discussion with print media members on Saturday.

“I think on the gambling side, I’ll kind of break it in two parts, where we are from a gaming standpoint, and then how we see that affecting the way fans engage our content,” Monahan said. “So on the gaming side, we have for the last couple years put all the systems in place to be an integrity program, a monitoring program, get our Shot Link technology in a place where we can be in a position to participate. And the reason that we would do it is that we think that gaming leads to more engagement.”

That engagement with the gambling fanbase can only help interest grow for the game of golf, Monahan said.

“And so we are looking at, we’re talking to betting operators, we’re talking to daily fantasy operators, and internationally we announced a deal that IMG Arena will be distributing our data to amongst other entities, betting operators,” Monahan said. “So for us we see that as, again, when you talk about growing and diversifying your fan base and keeping your fans engaged for longer periods of time, there’s some real potential there.”

A handful of states currently allow sports gambling and more are lined up to be added to the list — all have different laws for the regulation of sports betting.

With mobile communication technology growing rapidly, the PGA Tour is trying to integrate that with the gambling aspect of the game.

“As it relates to the fan experience, I still think that that is a second, third, or fourth screen experience,” Monahan said. “I think the way that we cover the game today, with the great partners that we have, I don’t see that evolving. But I do see that the amount of information that people want to consume as they think about daily fantasy or they think about gaming or they think about fantasy generally, I see that expanding. So us being in a position where we can provide that information and better educate and better inform and allow people to form their own opinions based on that information, I see that developing.”

New No. 1

Brooks Koepka will fall out of the No. 1 spot on the Official World Golf Ranking when it is released today. He needed to finish in a tie for eighth or better here to remain at the top of the list, but finished 24th at 4-under 288.

No. 2 Justin Rose, who did not play here, will become the new No. 1.

Good at Kapalua

Justin Thomas, the 2017 TOC champion, recorded his 11th top-three finish in his last 51 starts.

Defending champion Dustin Johnson finished in a tie for fourth, his seventh straight top-10 finish here, and did not record a bogey in his final 26 holes.

Steady as he goes

Webb Simpson has now recorded 19 under-par scores in his last 20 rounds, dating back to the 2018 BMW Championship.

With two eagles on Sunday, he has recorded multiple eagles in a round for the fourth time in his career.

Last 18 is best 18

The final round was the lowest average score of the week by nearly two strokes.

Sunday’s average score for the 33 players in the field was 69.727 strokes. Thursday’s average was 71.364, Friday’s was 71.394 and Saturday’s was 71.242.

After seven bogey-free rounds through the first three rounds, there were five on Sunday: Webb Simpson (65), Dustin Johnson (67), Gary Woodland (68), Brice Garnett (68) and Matt Kuchar (69).

Quotable

“Yeah, it’s pretty simple. Winning is hard enough. Someone like Tiger Woods wins 25 percent of his starts, so you take them when you can get them.”

— Xander Schauffele, on his attitude towards his comeback ability to win (all four of his PGA Tour victories have been while trailing going into the final round)

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