The best golf gambling stories of 2019

December 18, 2019
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Nathaniel Welch

Just as Tiger Woods completed what might be the most improbable personal comeback in sports history, the unlikely link of a 39-year-old man from La Crosse, Wis., and his million-dollar payday on Tiger’s Masters victory will always be part of the story.

James Adducci, who we visited in May, watched Sunday’s final round from his childhood home, where he was living in the same bedroom he grew up in, caring for his golf-loving father. He squirmed in a small rocking chair alongside his 82-year-old dad, who fell asleep down the stretch as Tiger won his fifth green jacket. Adducci would cash his $85,000 bet—what he claims was his first sports wager ever—with William Hill, flying out to Vegas and going on a mini media tour after eventually earning $1.19 million (recall that Woods' own pay day at $2.07 million).

To make matters even more remarkable, Adducci then placed a $100,000 bet with William Hill, at 100-1 odds, on Tiger winning the Grand Slam. Of course, this one was highly unlikely to pay off, as no golfer has ever completed the modern-day calendar-year Slam.

Tiger was even asked about the bet at a charity event, and the moment was captured on video: “[Expletive] great bet,” he said. “Dumb** for the Grand Slam though.”

Whether you agree or not, Adducci’s story captured headlines among sports fans and gamblers for months, his tale complicated with guilty charges on three counts of misdemeanor domestic abuse and a misdemeanor for battery. “When we’re talking about domestic abuse and disorderly conduct, I’m not downplaying anything,” Adducci said. “When I look at who I am today, I can say, ‘Yeah, I own that past. Yeah, that’s part of me. And that’s what made me who I am today.’ ”

We’ll be all ears if Adducci intends to double down on any golf action in 2020.

Adducci wasn’t the only one who made a bet that made headlines in 2019. There was the guy who accidentally bet $20 on Shane Lowry to win the Open Championship, as he intended to place the bet on the U.S. Open. The gentleman, who Jason Sobel of Action Network first reported on, was quite happy to see he won $1,000 kind of by accident. If only we could all be so lucky.

Then there was guy who hit the most impressive golf parlay of the year. A U.K. bettor hit a four-leg parlay with the most random of events: Xander Schauffele to win in Kapalua; Brooks Koepka to lead the PGA Tour’s money list; Tiger Woods to win the Masters and Jon Rahm to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai. We certainly respect the move, but we’re still trying to wrap our heads around this one. No matter: The €126,875+ this gentleman claims to have won is enough to take our logic out of the mix.

With sports betting and golf specifically increasing in popularity more and more, we’re excited to report on crazier golf gambling stories in 2020.