The WM Phoenix Open, meanwhile, attracts 20,000 spectators per day – on the 16th hole alone.
That iconic par-3 features the rowdiest crowds in golf, and the tournament itself annually draws a remarkable 700,000 fans per week – making it the best-attended golf tournament in the world.
So it seemed only fitting recently when the Tour unveiled its first sports betting partnership site – a DraftKings Sportsbook that is located only a modest walking distance from the 18th green.
Future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who spent his entire 17-year NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals, fittingly was on hand for the ceremonial ribbon-cutting – as was former ESPN personality Mike Golic.
And when Fitzgerald got his chance to make a wager, he skipped both his former team and the local Arizona Diamondbacks, who were playing in the National League Championship Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Instead, Fitzgerald made a $100 “futures bet” on Arizona State product Jon Rahm at odds of 10-to-1 to win the Phoenix Open in February – which, as always, will be wrapping up on Super Bowl Sunday.
“I am a big golfer, and I love my golf, and Jon Rahm is a local guy who went to ASU and is always a fan favorite,” Fitzgerald told the assembled media. “I’m confident he can get a win next year.”
A Site 4 Years In The Making
Scott Warfield, the Tour’s vice president of gaming, said at the launch that the idea for a sportsbook at the Arizona location dates back to 2019 when DraftKings Arizona was first chosen as the Tour’s daily fantasy sports partner. The groundbreaking for the sportsbook took place last December.
The 13,000-square-foot facility features 32 betting kiosks, seven ticket windows, and 3,400 square feet of video walls showing whatever major sports events happen to be taking place. A dining area and a large sports bar open up to a patio that includes cabanas and fire pits.
DraftKings already is a prominent name on the two-year-old Arizona gambling landscape, as it took in $115.6 million in betting handle – amounting to one-third of all wagers – in August, per the Arizona Department of Gaming.
The sportsbook at Wrigley Field in Chicago is also a DraftKings site, but that baseball stadium is unlike a golf course, where fans themselves make use of the location – and, no doubt, the new sportsbook.
“We hope the sportsbook will be a place where our golfing guests, local people, and visitors to nearby hotels can come and enjoy the book,”
Brad Williams, general manager of the TPC Scottsdale course, said at the grand opening.
Ezra Kucharz, the chief business officer at DraftKings, said:
“With a company like ours, you can choose to have an experience where you sit on your couch on your phone, or you can come to a venue where there’s a lot more people and you can feed off the energy. That’s why we do these things.”
Golf is an underrated sport for gambling in the sense that few adults still participate in sports such as football, baseball, basketball, or hockey. But they not only play golf, they typically make modest wagers on their own performance compared to the other golfers in the group.
And as Kucharz suggests, while mobile sports betting dominates the overall betting picture, the DraftKings Sportsbook at TPC Scottsdale is liable to be a popular gathering place for golf fans – many of whom happen to have some wagers at stake – on every weekend of the lengthy PGA Tour schedule.
Arizona is one of the few states that have facilitated partnerships between professional sports and sportsbook operators. That has led to a FanDuel “book” at the NBA Phoenix Suns’ and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury’s Footprint Center, a Caesars version at Chase Field for the MLB Diamondbacks, and a BetMGM site at State Farm Stadium where the Cardinals play football.
The PGA Tour, meanwhile, may have a focus on DraftKings for its on-site location in the Phoenix area – but nationally, it also has partnerships with FanDuel, Bet365, MGM, Parx, and PointsBet.
The PGA Tour’s Gambling Controversy
As much as the Tour’s DraftKings Sportsbook launch reinforces its commitment to legal gambling, it is not immune from possible complications that can arise.
Vince India and Jake Staiano, members of the second-level Korn Ferry Tour, were just suspended on Oct. 27 for betting on Tour events – even though they didn’t compete in them.
India, who is 34, has earned $662,823 in professional golf prize money, but he has not produced a top 20 Korn Ferry Tour finish in 2023. While the penalties were just announced, six-month suspension began in mid-September and ends in mid-March 2024.
Staiano, who is 27, had his three-month suspension begin around the same time. He has earned just $30,910 in prize money.
While India has not commented on his more severe suspension, Staiano offered details on host Ryan French’s “Any Given Monday” podcast. He said he first placed a $25 wager in 2021 on former PGA Tour star Bryson DeChambeau – now a member of the rival LIV Tour – to make a birdie on a par-5 hole during a tournament.
He added that he placed three other bets, for a total of $91.20, on DeChambeau to be successful in his exhibition match against Brooks Koepka later that fall.
“I understand the principles, I understand you can’t bet. They laid it out perfectly,” Staiano told French. “I didn’t deny gambling. I’ve accepted my punishment. It is what it is. Fair or not, people can argue that, but one of my biggest things is I want to make sure other guys understand exactly what happened so that they don’t make the same mistake.”
For more news on both in-person and online gambling in Arizona, check us out here at Betting AZ.