A number of PGA Tour gamblers and fantasy players have taken to social media to vent frustration at Rory McIlroy not disclosing details of his back injury during his Wednesday press conference at the Tour Championship.
News only emerged of McIlroy's back injury on Thursday afternoon, just moments before the start of McIlroy's first round.
Unfortunately by that time, a number of golf punters had already placed wagers down on the record three-time FedEx Cup champion making it No.4 at East Lake this week.
Now before we get into the meat of this article, it does beg the question especially when it comes to responsible gambling, does McIlroy - or anyone else on the PGA Tour for that matter - really have to disclose concerns of an injury at a press conference?
That is surely the 'gamble' everyone takes at the end of the day?
It's certainly up for debate at least.
Anyway, let's dive into it...
McIlroy addressed the media ahead of the Tour Championship on Wednesday afternoon, but did not reveal any concerns about a lower back injury.
McIlroy was asked for his opinion on a gambler shouting out in the middle of Max Homa's putting stroke at the BMW Championship last week.
While McIlroy wants fans to have fun outside the ropes, he does believe golf betting could end up proving something of a "slippery slope" if the PGA Tour is not careful.
McIlroy said on Wednesday:
McIlroy then went on to speak about his biggest pet peeve with PGA Tour fans.
#INJURY — According to Golf Channel’s @ToddLewisGC, Rory McIlroy injured his lower back while at home this past week. After an uncomfortable warm up session, Rory is out on the course at East Lake. Follow @TrackingRory & @InjuryReportPGA for updates— NUCLR GOLF (@NUCLRGOLF) August 24, 2023
But back to the original story, and after carding a respectable level-par 70 in the first round given his injury, McIlroy told a group of reporters he felt tightness in his back earlier this week on Tuesday morning.
He then said he "couldn't move or even address the golf ball" on Wednesday, the day of his pre-tournament press conference.
McIlroy told reporters after his first round:
Rory fought his arse off today at East Lake— Rory McIlroy Tracker (@RMTracker) August 24, 2023
An even-par 70 in the 1st round of the TOUR Championship in these circumstances is something to be proud of pic.twitter.com/jFQKW2Si55
The World No.2 admitted to being "over the moon" to remain in the hunt for a fourth FedEx Cup given his injury setback.
One PGA Tour winner questioned why McIlroy had not WD from the Tour Championship.
But with more history and an inflated first-prize bonus of $18m on the line for this year's FedEx Cup champion, McIlroy said that thought never even crossed his mind.
It's fair to say a number of golf punters were disguted to only be told about McIlroy's back injury just hours before his first-round tee-time on Thursday as wagers had already been placed on him by then.
McIlroy was as low as 9/2 to win the Tour Championship, second in the betting behind Scottie Scheffler at 6/4.
After the first round, McIlroy has now slipped back to odds of 8/1, which is very nearly double the price. Scheffler is out to 10/3.
Popular Twitter account 'Flushing It' came down particularly hard on McIlroy:
This isn’t a great look for a sport that’s trying to encourage sports betting and fantasy sports. Rory is one of the favourites this week and injuries should be disclosed before the tournament starts. Especially when he had a press conference after the injury. Not good! https://t.co/BZrCed8zbZ— Flushing It (@flushingitgolf) August 24, 2023
The account tweeted:
Here's how a number of PGA Tour punters and fantasy players reacted to news of McIlroy's back injury on Thursday:
How is this only coming out now? Bets are already placed on the board. Insane this info was kept secret— hoovey.eth (@hooveyff) August 24, 2023
It’s unbelievable you take gambling money but don’t have injury reports.— Glades (@GladesSaratoga) August 24, 2023
Everyone who bet on Mcilroy this week pic.twitter.com/OAGN94JKQt— Bailey melvin (@bailey_melvin) August 24, 2023
Good thing I put a bunch of money on him this week— Ben Galluzzo (@Galluzzbro) August 24, 2023
Yet gamblers had no idea— rob (@legalshieldrob) August 24, 2023
So he is teeing it up injured and the books didn't know and his odds stayed the same?— skryp (@Theskrypclub_) August 24, 2023
Big joke this wasn’t reported prior to the start of the tournament. Very shady from everyone involved. The fix is in.— Darthdisney (@Darthdisney1977) August 24, 2023
So I lay him top 5 heavy this morning yet this doesnt get reported till 90 mins bf his tee time when bets are locked. Fk this tour. #DraftKings— Max Verstappen’s Burner (@HecJuan12) August 24, 2023
100% agree. I’ve been tweeting about that today. Every sport requires injury. Reports that allow betting golf doesn’t think about if you bet on Rory and didn’t know he was injured Tuesday.— rob (@legalshieldrob) August 24, 2023
I was just saying this, I put a small bet on Rory to win this weekend outright and then turn it on to hear he has an injury! Surely odds should be based on things like this rather than happy to take your money for a favourite on paper— Lüke (@LukeJH22) August 24, 2023
No doubt many punters who lumped on McIlroy at short odds this week will be hoping he sorts himself out in the physio room ahead of the second round.
But then again, you know what they say...
"Beware of the injured golfer!"
McIlroy will tee off alongside Matt Fitzpatrick at 1.27pm ET on Friday.
That's 6.27pm for UK fans.
Tour Championship R2 Tee Times
11:26 a.m. – Nick Taylor, Emiliano Grillo
11:37 a.m. – Sungjae Im, Taylor Moore
11:48 a.m. – Tommy Fleetwood, Jordan Spieth
11:59 a.m. – Si Woo Kim, Tony Finau
12:10 p.m. – Lucas Glover, Corey Conners
12:21 p.m. – Sam Burns, Max Homa
12:32 p.m. – Sepp Straka, Jason Day
12:43 p.m. – Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay
12:54 p.m. – Brian Harman, Tom Kim
1:05 p.m. – Xander Schauffele, Wyndham Clark
1:16 p.m. – Jon Rahm, Tyrrell Hatton
1:27 p.m. – Matt Fitzpatrick, Rory McIlroy
1:38 p.m. – Adam Schenk, Russell Henley
1:49 p.m. – Viktor Hovland, Scottie Scheffler
2:00 p.m. – Collin Morikawa, Keegan Bradley
Morikawa fired a blistering round of 61, his lowest ever round on the PGA Tour.
Should Morikawa win the FedEx Cup this week, he would become the first player to win having started nine strokes off the pace heading into the Tour Championship.
McIlroy holds the current record having won from starting six strokes back in 2022.
However, he did find himself 11 shots off the pace as early as the second hole last year following a dreadful start.
McIlroy started this year's tournament three strokes back of Scheffler, but the World No.1 fell back to 9-under par after a lacklustre 71.
Scheffler's round included his first triple-bogey since the 2022 AT&T Byron Nelson.
Will Rory McIlroy win another FedEx Cup this week? What do you make of McIlroy not revealing his back injury at his press conference? Share your thoughts and comments over on the GolfMagic social media channels.
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