Rory McIlroy voices fears over golf bettors impacting play

August 25, 2023
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The former world number one says he thinks the sport could be facing a 'slippery slope.'

Following the increase in gamblers betting on golf and the rise of punters shouting at the athletes, Irish professional golfer Rory McIlroy has spoken out.

McIlroy has said golf could be facing a “slippery slope” after two bettors were removed from the BMW Championship at Illinois after shouting at Max Homa while he was standing over a putt.

Unlike other sports, golfing fans often have no – to little – impact on the play at events, but that is now changing and not for the better.

McIlroy is the former world number one in the Official World Golf Ranking and when speaking ahead of the Tour Championship in Georgia, confirmed that the topic had been discussed at PGA Tour Board level and warned that the sport must be careful given the proximity of spectators to players.

The Tour Championship begins at East Lake on Thursday with McIlroy bidding to defend his title.

“We have talked about this at the board and the PAC (player advisory council) level for a few years,” explained McIlroy.

“It is a bit of a slippery slope because I don’t think there’s any other sport – maybe basketball and you can sit courtside, but it’s a different environment – where people can really affect the play out here.”

He continued, “As long as it’s policed the right way and as long as there’s measures put in place for things like what happened to Max Homa not to happen. We’re all for people out here having a good time and being able to put something on an outcome, as long as they don’t feel like they can come here and influence that outcome. That’s important.

“If I was here as a fan, I would just want to go out and try to watch the best players in the world and have a good time doing that.”

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