The Loop

FanDuel is adding golf to its list of daily fantasy sports contests

January 17, 2017

If you're a fan of playing fantasy golf, good news. Your options are expanding. Well, at least, for now.

On Tuesday, Yahoo Finance reported FanDuel will add golf to its list of daily fantasy sports contest.

“The smaller sports… always kind of slipped to the bottom of the pile,” FanDuel CEO Nigel Eccles told Yahoo. “We had been looking at golf for over a year. We were mindful of the regulatory environment, but now we have states passing laws and really setting the boundaries of what we can and can’t do. We think there’s a golf product we can do that would be compliant with that and be an awesome experience. We took our time on it.”

Eccles also pointed to NBC/Golf Channel's increased TV ratings during 2016 as the possible effect of more people playing fantasy golf -- and as a reason to get into that space now.

Previously, DraftKings was the only major site offering daily fantasy golf. The addition of golf is also likely due to the merger of FanDuel and DraftKings, which is set to happen by the end of 2017. FanDuels expects golf contests to be available on its site in March.

The FanDuel golf game won't be the same as the contests offered on DraftKings, however, since it will require those entering to pick a different players for the final two rounds of PGA Tour events than from the first two rounds. DraftKings' contests, including the popular Millionaire Maker game during major championships, simply required entries of six golfers -- picked with a salary cap -- for an entire tournament. The reason for this tweak might be, as Yahoo's Daniel Roberts points out, to satisfy the "multiple events" condition of the Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act of 2006.

While it's hard to predict what will happen with FanDuel/DrafKings' golf offerings at the end of the year, the sites had to be encouraged by what they heard from new PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan. Just last week, Monahan said this when asked about the role of gambling in golf.

“Is it something we look at? Absolutely,“ Monahan said to the Golf Channel's Rich Lerner. “We always look at something that other sports are doing, having success with, trends in the industry. It’s something we’ve spent a lot of time on up to this point in time. You look at DraftKings and FanDuel, you look at gaming in the international markets, there’s a lot of opportunity there.

"There’s some complexity, and that complexity has held us back from moving forward. But we will look at it and have an open mind towards it.”