During SI Golf’s Bad Takes Week, journalist Alex Miceli proposed that PGA Tour players should be allowed to make casual wagers on golf events, suggesting a limit of $100 for players. He argued that this amount would be a psychological threshold and that such small bets would not compromise match integrity. Miceli’s proposal draws attention to golf’s long-shared history with gambling and the sometimes contentious relationship between the two.
Miceli’s argument for allowing players to make small bets on golf events is rooted in the historical presence of gambling in the sport. He referenced Old Tom Morris, a historical figure known for placing wagers on golf challenge matches, and advocated for present-day players to be allowed the same privilege. Miceli also cited research from Stanford University and the Journal of Gambling Studies, arguing that gambling is primarily a form of entertainment and should be acknowledged and accommodated by the PGA Tour within reasonable limits.
The journalist also criticized the PGA Tour’s Integrity Program, which bans player gambling, while the Tour maintains official relationships with multiple betting operators. The recent suspensions of Korn Ferry Tour players Jake Staiano and Vince India for minor bets on golf events led Miceli to accuse the PGA Tour of acting as the “fun police” and advocate for a more lenient stance on player gambling.
Despite Miceli’s proposal and arguments, it is unlikely to gather momentum due to a shift in public sentiment condemning all gambling from professional athletes, driven by wagering scandals in other sports. Nevertheless, Miceli’s provocative take has sparked a discussion about the relationship between golf and gambling and the potential for a more pragmatic approach to player wagering on golf events.