LIV Golf Lags Far Behind PGA Tour in US Betting Handle  

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Dustin Johnson is one of many former PGA Tour players competing in LIV Golf. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

The LIV Golf Tour’s second event is set to start June 30 on American soil in Portland, Oregon, and it will compete with next week’s PGA Tour John Deere Classic for US betting dollars.

Or will it?

Based on LIV’s first event in London two weeks ago, the answer is a resounding no. That’s according to Westgate SuperBook VP of Risk Management Jeff Sherman. 

In a text to Gaming Today on Wednesday, Sherman, a golf oddsmaking specialist, said the SuperBook wrote seven times more business on the PGA Tour’s Canadian Open compared to the inaugural LIV event in London that same week.  

The SuperBook will offer odds on LIV’s Portland event next week. Sherman said he’s waiting until the tournament field is finalized, and he’ll likely post LIV’s Portland odds next Monday with the rest of the SuperBook’s golf offerings.

The same holds true at DraftKings, where Director of Race & Sportsbook Operations Johnny Avello said LIV odds will most likely be up by Monday in states where they are allowed. Those states included Arizona, ConnecticutIllinois, Oregon, and Wyoming for the inaugural LIV event.

Not every sportsbook is offering wagering on the LIV Tour. Circa Sports is among the sportsbooks that won’t be dealing LIV Golf odds next week, according to Sportsbook Manager Jeff Davis.  

“Basically, the PGA Tour is like the NFL,” Sherman said in a recent Las Vegas Review-Journal story. “No matter what we put up — props, top-five, top-20, matchups — there’s a very good handle on that. Any other tour we do is like the USFL. It pales in comparison.” 

He added, “Getting Dustin Johnson and other golfers who’ve won majors, I think (LIV Golf) can become the second-most bet tour we offer. But there will still be a large discrepancy between that and the PGA Tour.”

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A Perilous Time for the PGA Tour  

There’s no question the Saudi-backed LIV Tour (and its $600 billion cash box) poses a threat to the PGA Tour as it poaches some of the best golfers in the world. It’s already succeeded wildly on that front. 

The exodus of big-name PGA Tour players continued this week with Brooks Koepka throwing his hat in the LIV ring after accepting a reported nine-figure deal to secure his services. The list of defectors also includes Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bryson DeChambeau, Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Abraham Ancer, and more. It is only expected to grow moving forward.

But questions remain about the viability of LIV’s glorified exhibitions. The three-day, no-cut tournaments featuring shotgun starts and lopsided fields have an amateurish feel. But what if LIV continues to secure top PGA Tour players en masse with huge guaranteed paydays?

That’s a scary proposition for PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, who admitted in a press conference today that the Tour can’t compete with the billions of dollars the Saudis have at their disposal.

Moving forward, it appears likely that LIV Golf will play second fiddle to the PGA Tour when it comes to betting handle in the US. LIV Golf does not have an American TV deal. The LIV events are only available online here. 

“You can’t just turn on a mainstream channel and watch it,” Sherman said. “People will bet on anything they can watch, and if they have trouble finding where to watch it, that will be a deterrent for the betting handle.” 

Also read: LIV Golf Presents Unprecedented Challenge for PGA Tour

About the Author
Kris Johnson

Kris Johnson

Writer & Contributor
Kris Johnson is a Senior Writer at Gaming Today with more than 15 years of experience as a sports journalist. Kris' work has appeared in Sports Business Daily, Sports Business Journal, NASCAR Illustrated, and more. Kris also authored a sports betting novel entitled The Endgame.

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