During the third round of last week’s BMW Championship at Olympia Fields, gambling fans yelled at Max Homa and Chris Kirk in an attempt to influence their putting strokes.
Homa had some choice words for the fan after he signed his card: “He was cheering and yelling at Chris (Kirk) for missing his putt short, and he kept yelling that he had – one of them had $3 for me to make mine, and I got to the back of my back stroke, and he yelled, ‘pull it’ pretty loud[ly], and I made it right in the middle, and then I just started yelling at him, and then (caddie) Joe (Greiner) yelled at him.”
During his pre-tournament press conference at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Jon Rahm said that it happens a lot more than we may know.
“I feel like we hear it every single round,” Rahm said Tuesday ahead of this week’s Tour Championship. “That happens way more often than you guys may hear. I mean, it’s very, very present.
“In golf, spectators are very close, and even if they’re not directly talking to you, they’re close enough to where if they say to their buddy, I bet you 10 bucks he’s going to miss it, you hear it.
“So it happens more often than you think, yeah. But not only that, on the tee and down the fairway. I mean, luckily golf fans are pretty good for the most part and you’re hearing the positive, I got 20 bucks you make birdie here, things like that. But no, it’s more often than you think.”
When asked if the PGA Tour should step in and attempt to put an end to it, Rahm agreed.
“You know, in a game like this where you’re allowed to have your favorites, but it’s not a team aspect, right, it’s not a home team against a visiting team, I think the Tour maybe should look into it because you don’t want it to get out of hand, right? It’s very easy, very, very easy in golf if you want to affect somebody,” he said. “You’re so close, you can yell at the wrong time, and it’s very easy for that to happen.
“So I think they could look into it, but at the same time, it would be extremely difficult for the Tour to somehow control the 50,000 people scattered around the golf course, right? So it’s a complicated subject. You don’t want it to get out of control, but you also want to have the fans to have the experience they want to have.”
Rahm, who will begin the Tour Championship at 6 under, four back of Scottie Scheffler (10 under), is +800 (8/1) to win the FedEx Cup.