Jon Rahm bemoans golf bettors’ interference in play

Jon Rahm
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2023 Masters Champion Jon Rahm has called out golf fans who are interfering with play and distracting players after placing bets. 

As reported by The Guardian, Rahm complained that bettors can be distracting in “every single round” and explained that the PGA Tour would find it very difficult to stop it from occurring. 

The comments came after the BMW Championship in Illinois, where two fans were kicked out of the event for shouting at Max Homa after placing a bet on the event. 

Courtesy of The Guardian, Rahm said: “I feel like we hear it every single round. That happens way more often than you guys may hear. I mean, it’s very, very present. 

“In golf, spectators are very close, and even if they’re not directly talking to you, they’re close enough to where if they say to their buddy, I bet you 10 bucks he’s going to miss it, you hear it.”

Rahm has made a big name for himself in golf over the last few years and the Spaniard, who resides in Arizona, won his first major in 2021 when he took home the US Open, before winning The Masters earlier this year. 

The Scottsdale resident called for more to be done to stop fans from shouting at players just because they have money riding on their performance. 

However, he did concede that it is a tough thing to police, but that these incidents can severely impact players’ performance. 

“Luckily golf fans are pretty good for the most part and you’re hearing the positive, ‘I got 20 bucks you make birdie here’, things like that. But no, it’s more often than you think.

“I think the tour maybe should look into it because you don’t want it to get out of hand, right? It’s very easy, very, very easy in golf if you want to affect somebody. You’re so close, you can yell at the wrong time, and it’s very easy for that to happen. 

“So I think they could look into it, but at the same time, it would be extremely difficult for the tour to somehow control the 50,000 people scattered around the golf course, right?”

There have been increasing numbers of incidents of fans abusing athletes for their performances after placing a bet in the last year, particularly in football, where college athletes have reported facing abuse. 

Earlier this summer, the issue of player abuse was touched upon at the UNLV Conference on Gambling and Risk Taking. Dr. Timothy Fong noted that becoming used to abuse and handling it is part of athlete training in the modern day.

Fong said: “The thing that I think is really brand new this year that we didn’t really see last year was the traumatic experiences that are brought upon by the harassment of the online and in the real world to athletes who play.”

He later added: “I don’t like using the word abuse anymore, particularly as it pertains to language, but in this case, it is online comments and social media posting real-world threats. I didn’t put some of these in [my presentation] because they’re really, really triggering. And they’re shocking. And they’re incredibly powerful. And athletes see that. 

“To be called all sorts of racial epithets, ethnic slurs, all sorts of being treated as essentially objects and property just nonstop.”