Gambling Is Illegal at Bushwood, Sir--and at the British Open Now, Too

For the first time in the history of the British Open players will not be able to place a bet on themselves or anyone else in the competition because of a rule change by its governing body the R&A. Players will be required to sign a waiver agreeing to the new rule, ESPN reported.

Although both the PGA tour and the European Tour prohibit players from gambling on tournaments, the R&A up until this tournament has allowed for it. Irish golfer and 2010 U.S. Open winner Graeme McDowell said that it’s no big deal. "It's really no different than what we already have on the European Tour and PGA Tour, so it doesn't change anything,” he said. McDowell admits that he loves gambling but not on golf.

Australian golfer Jason Day feels the same way. "It doesn't matter to me," he said. "I don't follow that stuff either way." Nevertheless, Day usually has a pretty nice pay day at major tournaments having been runner up in three major outings, the 2011 Masters Tournament and the 2011 and 2013 U.S. Open Championships.

Yet, Phil Mickelson may be disappointed by the new rule, given his reputation as being one who likes to throw down a bet here and there. Over a decade ago, Mickelson was part of a consortium that had two huge paydays when they enjoyed long-shot wins for the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl and the Arizona Diamondbacks in the World Series. Their preseason $20,000 28-1 bet on the Ravens netted a cool $560,000 and their $20,000 bet on the 38-1 shot Diamondbacks paid handsomely as well.

Regardless of the new rule, if a player wants to make a bet on himself it may not be that difficult because caddies are still able to wager. "I can still go make the bet," said one caddie, who wanted to remain anonymous. 

One player representative, who also refused to give his name said, "There's probably ... at least 30 guys in violation [of the no-bet waiver] already, and that number will be bigger by Thursday.",

For those who do decide to take their chances on the Open, local betting establishment William Hill lists Rory McIlroy as the tournament favorite at 12-1 odds. Tiger Woods and defending champion Phil Mickelson will both tee it up at 16-1 odds. 


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