Tour Championship Bettors Like Cam Smith, as PGA Tour Overhauls 2023 Season

The PGA Tour Championship wraps up the FedEx Cup Playoffs this weekend in Atlanta at storied East Lake Golf Club. And bettors placing bets in the more than 30 states where such gambling is permitted like Cameron Smith, Xander Schauffele, and Rory McIlroy.

Cameron Smith (left) and Rory McIlroy at The Open Championship at St. Andrews in July. Both players are betting favorites for this weekend’s Tour Championship that will determine who wins the FedEx Cup. (Image: Getty)

The Tour Championship is the conclusion of the PGA Tour’s regular season and FedEx Cup. Only the top 30 players in the season-long points standings qualify for the Tour Championship.

The players teeing it up starting today are assigned handicaps based on their points position entering the final stop. World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler, who arrives at East Lake as the FedEx Cup leader, begins the four-round Tour Championship at -10.

Schauffele and McIlroy, respectively third and fifth, begin at -6 and -4. Bettors like their chances, and with more appealing odds than Scheffler because of their four- and six-shot differential beginning the tournament. Much action has been wagered on Xander and Rory.

BetMGM told that Schauffele is responsible for 13% of its Tour Championship handle and 12% of the tickets. McIlroy has spurred even more money at 14% of the handle on about 11% of the total bets wagered.

As a result, BetMGM has lowered Schauffele from +700 to +650, and McIlroy from +1400 to +900. BetMGM says Schauffele and McIlroy are two of its biggest liabilities, as the Tour Championship tees off in a matter of hours.

No. 1 Tops Handle, Smith Returns

BetMGM also trimmed Scheffler’s Tour Championship odds after the world’s best player attracted nearly 9% of the handle. Scottie is the public’s favorite, as he is responsible for almost a quarter of the tournament handle to win the FedEx Cup and its $18 million first-place prize.

Scheffler is now at just +200 to win the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup. A $100 bet on that line nets just $200.

For bettors seeking a more rewarding payout, BetMGM says Smith has been a popular choice. The retail and online sportsbook operator says the Open champ is its biggest liability of the 29-player field (Will Zalatoris withdrew earlier this week because of injury.)

Smith, who is expected to announce his departure for LIV Golf after the conclusion of play on Sunday, is on 8% of the ticket slips and behind more than 10% of the money bet.

Smith remains rather long at +2500 because of a recent injury that forced him to miss last week’s BMW Championship. As a result, BetMGM says the Australian represents its biggest liability.

Patrick Cantlay, the defending FedEx Cup champion who won last week at the BMW, begins today in second at -8. Cantlay, who is trying to become the first player to win back-to-back Tour Championships and FedEx Cups, is at +350. He’s responsible for 13% of the handle and 9% of the tickets.

PGA Tour Ready to Pay Up

In other golf news, the PGA Tour yesterday announced major changes to its operations. The overhaul comes in response to the Saudi-backed LIV Golf league poaching away players with lavish signing bonuses.

Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan announced Wednesday that 12 tournaments will average purses of $20 million each beginning next season. All fully exempt Tour members will also be guaranteed a $500,000 base salary.

The Tour’s top-ranked players will be required to play in the 12 events, so long as they qualify. McIlroy, a staunch advocate of the Tour and stern critic of LIV Golf, said the update will better entertain golf fans.

I think if you’re trying to sell a product to TV and to sponsors and to try to get as many eyeballs on professional golf as possible, you need to at least let people know what they’re tuning in for. When I tune into a Tampa Bay Buccaneers game, I expect to see Tom Brady throw a football,” McIlroy said of his support.

“Sometimes what’s happened on the PGA Tour is we all act independently and we sort of have our own schedules, and that means that we never really get together all that often,” the four-time major winner added.

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