Suspended pro slams PGA Tour over $116 Brooks/Bryson bets: "Made me look evil"

Suspended Korn Ferry Tour player Jake Staino revealed he was banned by the PGA Tour for betting on Bryson DeChambeau's match against Brooks Koepka.

Ben Smith's picture
Mon, 30 Oct 2023
Suspended pro slams PGA Tour over $116 Brooks/Bryson bets: "Made me look evil"

Korn Ferry player Jake Staiano has provided some context over why he was suspended after placing one wager on Bryson DeChambeau to make a birdie during a PGA Tour event and three separate bets on his exhibition match against Brooks Koepka. 

Staiano was one of two players who were given bans by the North American circuit last week. 

The tour's official communications department confirmed via a memo the two golfers had wagered on PGA Tour events. 

Crucially, though, neither player bet on tournaments of which they were a participant. 

Staiano was given a three-month ban whereas Vince India has been told he won't be able to play for six months. 

As ever, the PGA Tour are refusing to comment further on the matter.

For example, how much was wagered? How many times? How was the suspension determined? What were the mitigating and aggravating circumstances?

Staiano joined Ryan French, aka Monday Q Info, on the Any Given Monday podcast to explain his side of the story. 

Turns out, the golfer was suspended for placing four bets that totalled $116.20. 

One bet was placed on DeChambeau to make a birdie on a par-5 during in the 2021 FedEx St. Jude Championship and the other three were on November's edition of The Match between the 2020 U.S. Open champion and Koepka. 

In the 30-minute interview, he claimed the 'appeal process' was stacked against him. He also wanted to clear his name. Gambling is not a recurring theme in his life, he said. 

What makes the punishment even worse for Staiano is that he is unable to peg it up at PGA Tour Q-School now. 

The beginning

He was aware of the investigation in May. Staiano told the podcast he was the subject of an 'integrity violation' and initially 'didn't think anything about it'. 

The PGA Tour reportedly hired a firm to carry out background checks on everyone associated the tour with regards to gambling.  

Staiano said he was called by one of the investigators. At no point did he ever deny placing the bets, he said. 

Initially, he believed he may be let of the hook with a slap on the wrist. 

Then he was emailed personally by PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan confirming he had been banned for three months. 

"I'm like, damn, that's Q School," he said. After talking to a lawyer, he made the decision to appeal the ban. 

Referencing the fine print of the gambling policy, Staino explained the wording excluded members from betting on 'professional golf events'. 

The Match is a made-for-TV contest for charity. 

"I think if I can fight that [the Brooks vs. Bryson match], maybe I can reduce the penalty," he said. "Instead of being punished for four acts of gambling."

Staiano said the bets were placed after practice one day. He said he 'didn't feel' like he was part of the Tour, despite having conditional status. 

"It didn't even cross my mind [that he shouldn't place the bet]," he said. "It wasn't malicious." 

He said he did not consider The Match 'a professional golf event'. 

Though he conceded: "I understand that betting on professional golf is wrong. I want the people to know, it wasn't [with] malicious intent. It wasn't to defy the PGA Tour's rules." 

The appeal process

Staiano told the pod the appeal would be an arbitration with third parties. 

He said if he appealed the ban and lost, he would've been liable to pay the legal fees of 'all three' arbiters. 

"Who knows, they [the arbiter] could charge $1,000 an hour for 30 hours and all of a sudden I'm looking at $30,000 [bill] if I lose," he said. 

After sitting down with his parents, Staiano said he decided it wasn't worth the appeal. He has, however, been refunded the $4,500 fees he has paid for originally entering Q School. 

"It is what is is"

Staiano made it clear he wants other people to learn from what happened. 

He was asked if there was any unfairness about the whole thing. 

"I'm not a degenerate gambler," he said. "I'm not betting thousands of dollars. I'm not doing that with other sports. Obviously, the press release was a little vague. I just want to get it out there and say, 'Hey, I was 24 or 25 at the time and I made a mistake.'"

Staino claimed he felt the tour's press release made it appear as though he and India were 'evil guys' that were 'betting all the time'. 

"It really wasn't that deep. That part is frustrating for sure."

Staiano said he hadn't talked to India about his situation. 

Jay Monahan

Undoubtedly the biggest problem for Staino is he's missing out on Q School. 

He wasn't in direction communication with the commissioner but had been told that if the ban was delayed until after Q School and he made it through, then he would be taking up a spot from another player. 

"I can understand that," he conceded. 

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