Why golf bettors were frustrated by voided Pebble Beach wagers
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As Wyndham Clark paced the 18th green at Pebble Beach Saturday, 26 feet 5 inches from a 59, he had an inkling there might have been more riding on the eagle try than just a historic round.
“To shoot 59 would have been amazing, but I also know the tournament is on the line, so I wanted to make sure I had good speed,” Clark said. “But to have a tap-in birdie was pretty special too.”
Clark left the putt seven inches short, leaving him with a 60 and a one-shot lead over Ludvig Aberg that would prove to be all he needed. After a storm hit the Pebble Beach-area Saturday night and into Sunday, the PGA Tour canceled the final round of the event, giving the trophy to Clark.
Starting the tournament at +10,000 in most sportsbooks, Clark continued a trend of long-shot winners this year on Tour. Recent champions Chris Kirk, Greyson Murray, Nick Dunlap and Matthieu Pavon all had pre-tournament odds of +14,000 or longer.
But after Clark had seized the outright lead after 54 holes, some books, including DraftKings, left Clark’s line to win open at +200 heading into Sunday. Knowing there was a chance of the final round being canceled altogether, many bettors saw an opportunity by placing wagers on Clark to triumph.
One gambler even put together a 20-leg parlay on the exact top-20 finishing order, betting on the top 20 as it stood after three rounds. The odds were an absurd +3,776,975, which would have turned the $20 wager into $755,415.
Too good to be true? Yes, seems it was, because most sportsbooks’ rules prevent those kinds of bets.
DraftKings did not immediately respond to GOLF.com’s request for comment, but the company did issue this statement to multiple outlets Monday: “We are currently reviewing the settlement of certain bets placed on this weekend’s Pebble Beach Pro-Am following the cancellation of the final round due to severe weather. DraftKings’ house rules are currently the same as they were at the start of this event.”
A FanDuel spokesperson told GOLF.com, “All bets placed after the completion of the 3rd round were voided, and all 72-hole match bets were voided because 72 holes were not completed.”
Similarly, BetMGM’s “Minimum Length of Play” policy in its rules states, “In the event of a tournament being shortened or otherwise affected due to weather conditions, all bets other than those placed after the last completed round will stand provided at least 36 holes have been played and a trophy has been awarded. Those placed after the last completed round will be cancelled.”
DraftKings and other books also reserve the right to void any “odds being clearly incorrect given the chance of the event occurring at the time the bet was placed.”
Still, these policies didn’t stop bettors from taking to social media to vent after the tournament was called early, in part because some bets were voided and others not.
Rufus Peabody, a professional golf better with a speciality in analytics, wrote on X that he felt bettors were taking advantage of the books but also that the books “have no one to blame but themselves.”
“My personal opinion: placing crazy top 10 parlays as round 3 concluded is ‘taking a shot,’ Peabody wrote. “You’re trying to pull one over on the book. It’s not like you were the only one to think that round 4 might get cancelled. Jim Nantz was talking about it all freaking afternoon on the telecast. In my view, it’s not in the spirit of the game. I don’t like it, and I don’t think it helps the ecosystem.
“But this also speaks to a huge systemic issue that the sportsbooks have no one to blame but themselves. They’ve created so many different products and given users the ability to parlay everything, no matter how correlated, in any which direction, that they can’t properly manage risk when something unusual occurs.”