The Ohio Slate: PGA Tour Stopping In Ohio For 47th Memorial Tournament

The tournament's host, PGA legend Jack Nicklaus, had a few things to say on Tuesday about Ohio's impending sports betting launch.
golf flag

“The Ohio Slate” is a weekly look at developments in Ohio’s gaming industry, including betting angles as the state prepares to launch legal sportsbooks by Jan. 1, 2023.

All eyes that follow the PGA Tour will be focused on the golfing in Dublin, Ohio, this weekend. That’s where the 47th Memorial Tournament will take place, on the pristine Muirfield Village Golf Club course.

With a loaded field of the tour’s top golfers committed to play, FanDuel has odds of +1000 on Jon Rahm winning the Memorial, followed by +1100 on Rory McIlroy. Rahm, ranked No. 2 in the world, and McIlroy, the No. 8 golfer, are among seven of the world’s Top 10 golfers who are scheduled to play in the Memorial, which carries a total purse of $12 million.

Cameron Smith (ranked No. 3), Collin Morikawa (No. 4), Patrick Cantlay (No. 6), Viktor Hovland (No. 7), and Jordan Spieth (No. 10) have committed to play in the first of two annual tour stops in Ohio. FanDuel has odds of +1700 on Cantlay to win the Memorial and +1800 on Spieth, followed by odds of +1900 for Smith, Morikawa, and 11th-ranked Xander Schauffele.

The gallery will not have an opportunity to place any wagers on the event since sports betting is not yet available in Ohio. The Ohio Casino Control Commission announced earlier Wednesday that the universal start date for placing wagers on sports will be Jan. 1, 2023.

Also, the crowd at Muirfield Village Golf Club will not see the current top-ranked golfer in the world, Scottie Scheffler, No. 5 Justin Thomas, or No. 9 ranked Sam Burns, who defeated Scheffler in a playoff to win last weekend’s Charles Schwab Challenge.

Tiger Woods, who is attempting to play in a few tournaments after suffering a serious leg injury in a car accident last year, is also not playing in the Memorial. He recently withdrew from the PGA Championship after shooting a 79 in the third round.

A good Day to play

With odds of +5500 on former world No. 1 Jason Day winning the Memorial Tournament, he would seem like a good bet. After all, Jack Nicklaus’ Muirfield Village Golf Club course is practically in his backyard.

Day calls nearby Westerville, Ohio, home and is as familiar with the course as anyone. He finished tied for fourth place with Matt Wallace at the 2020 Memorial.

The 2015 PGA Championship winner seems overdue for a victory. His last PGA Tour victory took place in 2017, when he won the Wells Fargo Championship, while his best finish in recent years was tied for third at the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year, which was his fifth Top 5 finish in 13 starts at the event.

Nicklaus speaks on sports betting

Speaking on Tuesday with the media in Dublin, Ohio, before the Memorial Tournament, Jack Nicklaus spoke on a number of topics, including sports betting becoming legal in Ohio.

The Memorial, which Nicklaus hosts, has a partnership with the iGaming brand betPARX, which serves as the exclusive mobile sports betting sponsor for the tournament. Currently, Ohioans who want to wager legally must do so in neighboring states. That’ll change before next year’s Memorial Tournament.

“It’s the way of the times,” Nicklaus said of sports betting, according to Golfweek. “We’re part of it. I think they offered it to, what, nine organizations within the state of Ohio or something and we were the one golf tournament, so we’re involved in that. If we don’t do it, somebody else is going to do it, and it’s better to be involved where you control something where there was someplace you can’t control.”

The 82-year-old golfing and Buckeye legend also stated he’d placed “only one bet” on golf in his life: a $20 wager that he would win the 1960 U.S. Open at Cherry Hills. His father told him he was a 35/1 shot to win the tournament, but he didn’t win and lost his $20.

ICYMI: What happened in Ohio gaming this week

Caesars launches horse racing ADW app in Ohio, Florida

Ohio Casino Control Commission will launch sports betting operators Jan. 1

What they’re saying about the Jan. 1 launch date

Twitter was alive with comments after the OCCC earlier this week announced that sports betting would go live on Jan. 1, 2023. Reaction was mixed, though, with some out there frustrated at the long wait, others just excited for a new era in Ohio gaming, and operators are getting ready.


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