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Why You Shouldn't Bet on Golf

By: | Tue 07 Nov 2023 | Comments

Two Korn Ferry golfers have been suspended for placing illegal bets on the outcome of golf tournaments. 

Vince India has been banned for six months while Jake Staiano has been axed for three months. 

These men are hardly stalwarts. India, 34, made the cut 10 times in 22 events on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2023. His best finish was a tie for 21st (on two occasions).

Staiano, 26, made three cuts in eight events on the Korn Ferry Tour this year. His top finish was a tie for 19th.

Now you may well think these two deserve all they get, and that was my initial thought. After all, golf is a game where it is easy to deliberately miss a short putt, knock a drive out of bounds, etc. So it would be all too easy to bet on yourself to miss a cut, wouldn’t it?

However, neither India nor Staiano were betting on themselves or on tournaments in which they were participating. No, they received their suspensions for wagering on the outcome of PGA Tour events.

And I have to ask what on earth it is that they did wrong? 

Regular readers will know that I write tournament previews for Golfshake. These previews include forecasts ranging from who I believe is going to win, who is going to finish in the top five (my each-way tips), players to follow and outsiders to watch.

I also participate in the DP World Tour’s Fantasy Golf. And I used to subscribe to the PGA Tour’s Fantasy golf league. 

The last time I looked, I was 695th in the DP World Tour standings. I should point out that is not quite as bad as it sounds because thousands of people take part.

But I have to admit that my tipping record when it comes to picking winners for Golfshake is pretty poor. But that is hardly surprising when you consider the size of the field each week - and the fact that we have seen so many first-time winners on both sides of the Atlantic in 2023.

Who on earth would have predicted that Brian Harman would win The Open, or that Wyndham Clark would see off the challenge of Rory McIlroy to triumph at the US Open? Not me, for sure.

There will always be course specialists and by going through tournament records it is easy to pick out the players who always perform well at given events. 

But on any given week it is impossible to pick out the man who is going to set the fairways alight. Just look at the example of Scott Jamieson at the Qatar Masters. He went into the tournament with no form and looked certain to lose his tour card. He ended it finishing joint third and not only kept his playing rights but very nearly secured a place at the Nedbank Challenge.

So what has all this got to do with India and Staiano? I guarantee that I spend more time following professional golf, studying form and suchlike than either of those two individuals. So what on earth is wrong with them placing bets on a tour they are never likely to play on, backing players they are highly unlikely ever to meet?

I really cannot see an issue with this. One thing you can safely bet on is that both of these men lost far more than they won by wagering on golf. 

Footballers Ivan Toney and Sandro Tonali are currently serving bans for gambling on matches but their indiscretions were rather more serious. For starters, they were gambling on leagues in which they were playing. And both have admitted that it became a problem for them.

As is the way of things with professional golf, we have not been told about scale of the bets placed by India and Staiano. And that presents its own problems - why is that the PGA Tour is so reluctant to go public when players break the rules? It makes no sense.

TPC Sawgrass

I should finish by admitting that I did once win the PGA Tour’s Fantasy League. There was a huge amount of luck involved as I plucked a couple of complete outsiders out of thin air and both won tournaments. 

And in case you are wondering, the prize was a trip to TPC Sawgrass for two people that included two rounds of golf on the same course that is used for the Players Championship. 

But because I lived outside the USA I was not allowed to claim the prize. I have just about got over it - I only think about it once or twice a week now! Honestly!

And I console myself with the knowledge that I didn’t lose a bucketload of golf balls on par-three 17th.

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What do you think? leave your comments below (Comments)

Tags: PGA Tour Korn Ferry FedEx Cup


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