Growing Trend of Gamblers Heckling Players at U.S. Open Raises Concerns

Those watching the recent U.S. Open will have noticed the growing phenomenon of gamblers heckling the players.

Increased instances from gamblers heckling at U.S. Open.

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For the first time, the tournament was taking place in a state where online sports betting was legal, with spectators able to bet from their phones, and the difference in atmosphere couldn’t have been more obvious.

For example, at the No. 9 tee box on Saturday, Bryson DeChambeau took a moment to stretch his hip and while most of the crowd went silent, one spectator could be heard shouting, “Hey, Bryson! I’ve got a hundred bucks on you to shoot over 70.5 today!”

DeChambeau didn’t react, but the heckler was clearly visible and he later looked pleased when DeChambeau missed the green on the par 3. However, disappointment was to follow as DeChambeau went on to score 67 on his way to his second U.S. Open title.

Related: PGA Golf Hecklers Suspected of Influencing Betting Outcomes

Several Instances of Heckling

Other examples of gamblers heckling players include a fan shouting to Viktor Hovland that he had bet on him making the cut (which he didn’t) and another suggesting he would bet on how Phil Mickelson would do on No. 17.

Unsurprisingly, there are mixed opinions about the trend and golf gambling in general.

Whether betting is a good thing or not is up for debate. I personally think if it can help grow the game and bring in a bigger audience, I’m all about it.

Bryson DeChambeauProfessional Golfer

PrizePicks, one of the more popular fantasy sports operators, said that it collected more than double the money in entry fees for the first round of this year’s tournament compared to 2022 while DraftKings said that betting during rounds, rather than before play starts, accounted for 45% of bets placed with it.

There is an abundance of betting markets for fans to take advantage of. Markets include the winner’s nationality, finishers in the top 5, 10 and 20, the leader after each round, the best performance in each group, how many birdies or bogeys each player would make each day, and so on.

More Responsible Gambling News

Social Media Harassment

While most gambling heckling is well-intentioned or deliberately silly, it is not always the case. Max Home recently spoke about an incident at last year’s BMW Championship in Illinois when a gambler shouted “Pull it!” while he was mid-putt. However, he said that what he receives on social media “gets really, really ugly.”

He said that gamblers have found his Venmo account and that he receives requests for cash after they lose money on him several times a week.

With sports betting becoming more popular and commonplace in the USA, the issue of player abuse, whether online or shouted from the sidelines, is sure to become a hot topic of discussion.

RELATED TOPICS: Responsible Gambling

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