DraftKings, PGA Tour Player Enter Into Relationships
Legal Sports Report

PGA Tour Inches Toward More Support Of Daily Fantasy Golf

PGA Tour fantasy sports
A relationship between a PGA Tour player and DraftKings appears to signal a further softening of the pro golf group’s stance toward daily fantasy sports.

The DraftKings deal, at a glance

The deal, at core, is relatively minor. A PGA Tour player, Willy Wilcox — ranked 284th in the world currently — has entered into an agreement with DraftKings, which hosts fantasy sports contests for golf:

DraftKings told Legal Sports Report that the details on the logistics are still being worked out, with details to come. The deal appears to be in the mold of what DraftKings and competitor FanDuel often try to do — create unique experiences for winners of some of their contests.

But the more important story is the continued movement of the PGA Tour on DFS.

The PGA Tour and fantasy sports

The market for daily fantasy golf grew in a huge way in recent years, with DraftKings hosting contests worth millions of dollars. That’s despite the fact that the PGA Tour has generally been standoffish about the daily fantasy sports industry.

Not that long ago, the PGA Tour was taking a “conservative approach” to DFS, after a meeting with Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. The league had told players not to play at or endorse any DFS site. (Several DFS sites offer contests based on the PGA Tour, although DraftKings is by far the largest. FanDuel has plans to roll out its own golf product this year.)

Wilcox said on Twitter that the deal did not constitute and “endorsement.” That’s a concept backed up by his agent in a story by Golf Digest.  But this might be the most interesting nugget in that article:

However, by allowing Wilcox to have an “agreement,” the tour’s position on companies like DraftKings has shifted. According to sources, what was once a sensitive non-starter under previous commissioner Tim Finchem has become more flluid under new boss Jay Monahan.

DFS — and DraftKings — are likely to be discussed at the next meeting of the Tour’s Player Advisory Council, Golf Digest reported.

PGA Tour changing on DFS?

Much like the NBA and Major League Baseball, Monahan appears to have a coordinated effort to soften the Tour’s stance toward anything resembling sports betting even if just behind the scenes.

Here is some of what Monahan had to say when asked about the future of sports betting as it relates to the PGA Tour:

It’s something we’ve spent a lot of time on up to this point in time. You look at DraftKings and FanDuel, you look at gaming in the international markets, there’s a lot of opportunity there. There’s some complexity, and that complexity has held us back from moving forward. But we will look at it and have an open mind towards it.”

DraftKings and FanDuel already have overarching deals with the NBA, MLB and NHL. Could a DraftKings-PGA Tour deal (or a deal with a merged FanDuel-DraftKings) be in the offing down the road? That would seem to be in the cards one day, if the PGA continues down this road.

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Dustin Gouker
- Dustin Gouker has been a sports journalist for more than 15 years, working as a reporter, editor and designer -- including stops at The Washington Post and the D.C. Examiner.