The PGA Championship at the revamped TPC Harding Park in San Francisco proved to be something special this past weekend.
With no fans in attendance during the season’s first major golf tournament of the year, the four late afternoons and evenings since last Thursday was must-see television.
Sunday’s back nine was equally intense and competitive with so many players tied for the tournament lead ending ultimately with phenom Collin Morikawa taking home his first major title in his young and impressive career. However, did the first major of the season translate to the success of green online and in sportsbooks here on the East Coast?
The answer is an overwhelmingly yes.
“The PGA Championship continues golf’s impressive momentum at the FanDuel Sportsbook. It was our second most popular sport behind basketball for our online customers, but it was in fact the top event for our customers on Sunday,” said Kevin Hennessy, director of publicity for FanDuel. “It was the same for our retail sportsbooks, but was behind baseball. We had one bet on Morikawa for $3,300.52 at +1000 for a payout of $36,305 and one bet for $2,000 at +1000 for a $22,000 payout.”
PointsBet USA took it to another level. Compared to last year’s PGA Championship at Bethpage Black in New York (another municipal course), the 2020 PGA Championship saw double the total handle.
“The first major of the season was truly a monster.,” said Patrick Eichner, director of communications for PointsBet USA. “We had very impressive action from both a tickets and handle perspective.
“For context, we did more total turnover on this weekend’s major than we did on the last two PGA tournaments combined (the 3M & FedEx St. Jude), The book also ended up with a winning result overall, so no complaints over here — it was great weekend of golf.”
With the second major just five weeks away at the U.S. Open Championship at famed Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. (Sept. 17-20), Eichner thinks more action will be taken.
“We really expect the same, if not more overall action on the U.S. Open being played next month at Winged Foot,” he said. “We anticipate this recent golf boom to continue as more and more people are becoming interested with such good competition and popular names atop the leaderboards.
“Golfers like Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed are attracting the most action early to win the U.S Open right now.”
DraftKings, one of the largest online sportsbooks in the Garden State, also saw the PGA pay dividends.
“The tournament was absolutely fabulous for us. Handle for in-game wagering was over expectations,” said Johnny Avello, head of the DraftKings sportsbook. “Every upcoming tournament seems to be our best.
“Golf is growing rapidly and so is the DraftKings network. We wrote a bunch of money before the tournament started, but an extraordinary amount in the days to follow. One of the bigger bets we had was $350,000 on Dustin Johnson at 2.75 to 1. That was taken just before the Sunday’s fourth and final round started.”
BetRivers.com and PlaySugarHouse.com saw the most handle they have ever seen placed on a golf tournament.
“We have seen non-major tournaments at all-time highs leading up to this, and this major had an exciting field with a jam-packed leaderboard all the way,”said COO said Matthias Stetz. “It seems like golf has really captured the bettors’ interest in the past few months and we are looking forward to the rest of the season, especially the next major at Winged Foot in September.
“Overall, Morikawa was a nice win for bettors as he was the second-most popular backed golfer over the weekend, entering the event at +3300 with 13.5 percent of the outright winning bets.”
Just a reminder, the Wyndham Championship from Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina starts Thursday.