How Will the PGA-LIV Merger Affect Golf Betting?

With the shocking news that the PGA Tour and the DP World Tour had agreed to merge with the LIV Golf Tour, an unintentional benefit for golf fans might be more good bets.

How Will the PGA-LIV Merger Affect Golf Betting?

On June 6, golf fans everywhere were stunned by the announcement that the PGA Tour had reached an agreement to merge with the DP World Tour and the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Tour to essentially unify the men’s professional game.

Of course, this announcement came after years of burned bridges and contentious back-and-forth between all sides; many high-profile former PGA players—including Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka—publicly left the tour to cash nine-figure checks with LIV, despite the increased pushback from fans and the decreased level of competition.

Now that the sides have come together, however, it is widely acknowledged that LIV came out the winner—it put minimal effort into its operations and yet walked away with a piece of the PGA pie, which is likely the reason LIV was even formed in the first place.

Another victory for LIV will be the expanded betting market for Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund-backed entity.

Before the agreement, finding a U.S. sportsbook to place a bet on LIV events was difficult. Many didn’t have lines for the new golf tour.

Forbes magazine talked about three ways the LIV Tour could benefit betting-wise from the new agreement.

The first was added types of golf betting. LIV not only had individuals competing, but also featured a team concept. The PGA Tour already has a two-man event held every year in New Orleans, so adding a team concept shouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said in a press release that any different types of golf competitions would be welcomed.

“[T]he PGA Tour’s history, legacy and pro-competitive model and combines with it the DP World Tour and LIV–including the team golf concept–to create an organization that will benefit golf’s players, commercial and charitable partners and fans,” Monahan said.

Throw in a team concept in a 72-hole event, and now there are several other possible betting markets. Wagers such as betting on the winning team, or head-to-head matchups with teams is a definite possibility.

With the new markets for golf betting it is natural to assume the volume on golf wagering will increase as well. Golf Digest showed that from 2018 to 2019, gambling on golf doubled from $6.5 billion to $13 billion.

Now sports betting is legal in 37 states. Easier access to betting on golf should increase the handle. If a spectator at a golf tournament is in a state that has sports betting, making a wager from their phone while at a tournament will begin to become more prevalent.

With stars such as Mickelson and Koepka once again eligible to play in PGA Tour events, there might be an uptick in golf wagering.

The last topic Forbes addressed was how it might be easier to research LIV golfers and their performances. Not a lot was known about Koepka when he played in the PGA Championship. He had only played in a handful of LIV events. There wasn’t much data on how well he performed.

When he won the second major championship, he paid off at +1600. Those odds might have been lower had bettors had access to stats regarding Koepka.

Comparing golfers in all three tours should be easier with the uniformity of stats and previous results.