PGA Tour hires company to monitor betting for irregularities

The PGA Tour has entered into an agreement with London-based Genius Sports to monitor wagering information worldwide for any irregular activity. The move is part of the PGA Tour's new integrity program set to launch Jan. 1, 2018.

"[We] felt it was important to move forward with an Integrity Program to further protect our competition from betting-related issues," said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan in a news release announcing the deal.

The PGA Tour's move is similar to other U.S.-based sports leagues who have increasingly entered into related arrangements in the gaming sector. Such moves are widely seen as helping sports governing bodies be better positioned for potential widespread legalization of sports gambling domestically.

"Protecting the integrity of sport has never been of greater importance and it requires forward-thinking organizations such as the PGA Tour to proactively invest in both proven technology and education," said Genius Sports executive Mark Locke in the same release.

Genius Sports and Major League Baseball entered into a line monitoring agreement two years ago. Up-to-the-second golf data are used in live betting markets where customers can wager while the tournament is ongoing. Such live betting is immensely popular overseas and is beginning to gain a toehold in Nevada with some licensed sportsbooks now offering mobile apps for customers within the state's borders. The PGA Tour's announcement follows a victory in a 2004 antitrust lawsuit about real-time golf scores.

Whether sports gambling could be legalized across the U.S. will likely be determined by the pending Supreme Court case involving New Jersey's quest to offer regulated sports betting at casinos and racetracks. The NCAA, NBA, NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball have filed suit against Gov. Chris Christie to stop the plan.

The PGA Tour is not involved in the current Supreme Court case.