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:
So pumped to announce I am officially paired up with @DraftKings! Helping them with some epic events..dream come true see y'all at Pinehurst
— Willy Wilcox (@willwilcoxgolf) February 22, 2017
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 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.
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.