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The Best Golf Gambling Stories from PGA Tour Stars

The Action Network spoke with several of today’s top professional golfers to find out their favorite personal golf betting stories.

The players interviewed include: Adam Scott, Justin Thomas, Gary Woodland, Kevin Kisner, Tony Finau, Paul Casey, Marc Leishman, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Zach Johnson, Brendan Steele, Bryson DeChambeau, Corey Conners, Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Chez Reavie, Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose and Jason Kokrak.

Bryson DeChambeau: A Very Important Reese’s

During his early teenage years, DeChambeau became very good at the game, very quickly – and he wasn’t shy about letting his buddies know just how well he was playing. His favorite bet only resulted in a post-round candy acquisition, but it’s all about the story, one which proved to him that he could someday play high-level professional golf.

“I was about 14 or 15 years old. I was a good player, obviously, and I had a friend named Blake Berry – he’s going to hate me for telling this story – I told him I was playing really well at the time.

“We were playing from the white tees, we usually played nine holes on Saturday afternoon. I pretty much said to him, ‘Dude, I’m feeling really good.’

“He was probably a 2-handicap. And he goes, ‘Alright, what do you want?’ I said, ‘I’m telling you, four shots.’ And he says, ‘Dude, you’ve got no chance.’

“I said, ‘Really? OK, well how about this: I’ll give you a shot every hole. How about that?’ Against a 2-handicap. And he goes, ‘What?! You’re crazy.’ I said, ‘Just watch.’

“So I birdie the first three holes. He pars each of them and we’re even. I eagle No. 4 and par 5, then birdie 6, birdie 7, birdie 8 and birdie 9 to shoot a 27. I had a 4-iron into the last hole and hit it to a foot. I played the best I possibly could.

He shoots 37, bogeys the last hole and I beat him by one. He had to give me a Reese’s afterward. That was the bet.

“That’s when I knew I could do it. That’s when I knew I could play out here, that I had the you-know-what that it takes to play out here.”

Corey Conners: Pressing at Pebble Beach

During a practice round for this year’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Conners teamed with fellow Canadian pro Mackenzie Hughes in a four-man match that was never going their way. They kept pressing the bet, meaning it all came down to the famous par-5 final hole at Pebble.

“I was playing with Mac Hughes against Nick Taylor and Brandon Harkins, I think. Well, Hughes and I are getting killed all day.

“We were pretty worried for a while. We were getting in a little over our heads.

“We kept doubling the bet.

“I remember when I was a kid, we used to play a little chipping contest for a cookie at the snack shop – a Coke or a cookie, something like that.

“I think when you put yourself in those situations, you still feel the pressure – whether it’s for 20 bucks or playing out here for big money. It definitely keeps you focused and gets your nerves up a little bit, but it’s great practice. I think it’s really helped me become comfortable under pressure situations.

“Back home in Florida, the guys I play with are always bantering back and forth, getting in each other’s heads. It makes things tough, it stresses you out a little bit on the course, but it’s good practice.

“[After pressing at Pebble], I made a 4 on 18 to square it up, so we owed nothing at the end. I had like a 15-foot putt. It was playing too long, so I layed up and hit a wedge to 15 feet and made it.”

Matt Kuchar: A Costly First Albatross

To say Kuchar was a successful amateur golfer is an understatement. He won the 1997 U.S. Amateur and the next year earned low-am honors with a T-21 finish at the Masters and a T-14 at the U.S. Open. But he didn’t win everything during those years. In fact, it was a lost bet with a Georgia Tech teammate that still resonates to this day.

“I distinctly remember losing to my best buddy Carlton Forrester in college. I didn’t have much money to my name, but we were playing for some decent money.

“I was playing great golf, but I was down to Carlton. I doubled the bet on 17, but he birdied to beat me.

“Then I doubled the bet on 18 and he made an albatross.

“That really hurt. That was my first time ever witnessing an albatross and not the one I wanted to see.

“It took me a couple of installments to pay him back. It might have only been 100 bucks total, but that was a couple of installments for me at that time.

Louis Oosthuizen: A South African Showdown

It’s not often that two childhood buddies each become major champions, but that’s the case for Oosthuizen, who won the 2010 Open Championship, and Charl Schwartzel, who won the 2011 Masters. About two months after Schwartzel’s win at Augusta National, the two friends were playing a practice round match in advance of the U.S. Open. Unlike most friendly matches, their recurring game features a cruel twist – one which came back to bite Oosthuizen on this occasion.

“We’ve got this recall-mulligan game that we play. If your opponent hits a good shot, you can make him recall it and take a mulligan.

“On the long par-4 15th, it’s a dogleg down to the left and Charl hit one into the fairway bunker. He had 210 yards into the pin. The only way he could do something is if he hit this 40-yard cut 5-wood, because he couldn’t go straight over the left.

“So, he hit this shot to 25 feet, an unbelievable shot. I immediately go, ‘Recall!’ I hadn’t used my recall yet.

“He was swearing and shouting. He said, ‘You can’t do that!’ I said, ‘Hey, that’s the game.’

“Well, he hit the next one to 10 feet.

“He placed it exactly where he wanted to and it stopped 10 feet away. That screwed me completely. He ended up making birdie and he beat me that day.

“We’ve always had good matches between us.”

Chez Reavie: Taking on Lefty at East Lake

Before this year, the last time Reavie qualified for the Tour Championship was eight years ago. He finished in a share of 26th place that week, but the most memorable moment might have taken place before the event ever started, as he competed in a practice round match alongside some big-name fellow pros.

“You know, we have a lot of ‘em at Whisper Rock, a lot of fun matches with good players who give each other a bunch of shit when they’re playing together.

“But I had a good one [at East Lake] the last time I played the Tour Championship. It was Dustin [Johnson] and I against Keegan [Bradley] and Phil [Mickelson]. It came down to the last hole.

“It was when the par-3 [now the ninth hole] was the last hole. Dustin knocked it on the green, I missed the green, but I chipped it up there close.

“We ended up tying with pars and pushing the match. It was exciting. We had guys come out and follow us the last couple of holes, just because they heard what was going on.

“I think we were all happy we tied. I was playing for a little more money than I normally do, so it was a nice to not lose anything.”

Brooks Koepka: I’m Still Waiting To Get Paid

When asked his favorite on-course betting story, the world’s current No. 1-ranked player first starts to tell a tale of losing to a certain fellow pro during an Open Championship practice round without having any cash on hand. He then remembers a practice round for the U.S. Open four years ago, when he didn’t even need his clubs to bank a wager.

“I once played against Phil [Mickelson] with no money in my pocket. That was at Muirfield in 2013 – and we lost.

“Had a good one at Chambers Bay, too. I was probably 80 yards away and I looked at my caddie and we made a bet.

“Well, I threw it into the cup. Straight in, which I thought was pretty impressive.