Graeme McDowell / Image from Getty Images
While you may now want to hold off backing Graeme McDowell to win this week’s Honda Classic after his opening round, GMac is odds on with regards the new PGA Tour policy with regards players being sponsored by casino’s and sports fantasy bodies
McDowell, who posted a disappointing two-over par 72 on the first day of the event at PGA National to be well adrift of the leaders joined fellow Tour members who were seated in front of Tour Commissioner, Jay Monahan earlier in the week and were advised of a decision to allow them to be sponsored by certain types of gambling companies, meaning golfers like McDowell are now free to reach lucrative agreements with casinos and fantasy sports firms.
The PGA Tour’s decision, unveiled on Tuesday, is in line with other North American sports leagues who have embraced gambling sponsorship and follows a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last May that overturned a 1992 federal ban on sports betting outside of Nevada.
“I feel like the PGA Tour has gotten out front in this, with the integrity courses we took online and with helping us to understand what’s going to be okay and what isn’t going to be,” said McDowell before adding: “The integrity of our sport is paramount.”
The new policy, which is effective immediately, applies to larger casino companies but not firms whose primary purpose is sports betting and gambling companies can now also be considered for Official Marketing Partners for all six tours overseen by the PGA tour and tournaments.
McDowell endured a difficult opening round at the Honda, hitting 8/14 fairways and only 50% of greens in regulation in his two over par round and he sits in T86 position while Seamus Power didn’t have a great day either with his three over par effort good enough for a T109 position. Power got it together on his back nine though after taking 40 on the front which included four bogeys and a double, but he came home in 33 blows to leave himself nine shots off the lead set by Jhonattan Vegas who leads the tournament by two shots.