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As the PGA Tour continues to expand its gaming footprint, a recent move to broaden the circuit’s integrity program has some questioning the initiative’s reach.
In this month’s “Greensheet” to players, the Tour announced a “broadening” of the program to include PGA Tour Champions and Korn Ferry Tour players, and it appears the circuit’s expansion doesn’t stop there.
According to multiple sources, there is also a plan to include caddies in the integrity program, which features an online tutorial that must be completed by July 30.
The integrity program, according to the Tour, is designed “to maintain integrity and prevent and mitigate betting-related corruption in PGA Tour competitions – ensuring competitions always reflect, and appear to reflect, the best efforts of the players, while protecting the welfare of the players and others involved with the PGA Tour – through clear policies and regulations, ongoing education and training, and effective and consistent monitoring and enforcement functions.”
Although there are plenty of rules and regulations that apply to caddies, some characterize this new move by the Tour as intrusive and extreme.
“If we tell our friends or family how our guy is playing before teeing it up we can get fined,” said one Tour caddie, who requested anonymity because he’s not authorized to talk about the program. “It doesn’t seem very fair to us caddies, especially if we aren’t employees of the Tour.”
Caddies are independent contractors who work for individual players, although that notion was tested in a lawsuit that was filed in 2015. The class-action suit focused on sponsorship rights and was dropped in 2018 in exchange for an increase in the healthcare stipend offered by the Tour.