Rory McIlroy shows great strength to return as golf’s world number one

A fresh-faced McIlroy during his early emergence in the world of golfNorthern Irish golfing superstar Rory McIlroy has returned to the top spot in the golf world rankings for the first time in almost five years. Golf’s complex points system, which calculates the position of the sport’s top players based on recent results and performances, placed McIlroy a full point ahead of American Brooks Koepka who has held the number-one ranking for 38 weeks.

For sure, the 30-year-old may have taken advantage of Koepka’s recent injury issues in the back-end of 2019 due to a troublesome knee problem, but McIlroy has taken full advantage of Koepka’s loss of fitness and form. After Koepka won the PGA Championship in May 2019, he has won just one tournament on the PGA Tour since and only one additional top-ten finish. By contrast, the four-time major winner has been a regular feature towards the top of tournament leaderboards.

Impeccable consistency the key to McIlroy’s world ranking resurgence

For sure, one of the main reasons for McIlroy’s resurgence in world golf has been due to his rock-solid tournament results, securing regular high finishes without winning events outright and capturing the media spotlight too much. Many wondered whether McIlroy’s career was heading for a downward spiral after the Northern Irishman failed to perform at his home Royal Portrush course in The Open last year, missing the cut in heart-breaking circumstances.

Brooks Koepka has struggled for form in recent months

However, following a much-needed period of self-reflection, McIlroy was able to recharge the batteries and hit the courses once again – and hit them he has. Since that ill-fated 2019 Open appearance, McIlroy has only finished lower than sixth place twice in the 11 tournaments he has entered. Self-reflection is something that most skill-based sport professionals should engage in more. It’s important to be self-critical and review flaws or leaks in technique as well as strategies to improve and develop for the long-term.

Even though Brooks Koepka insisted he wasn’t looking in his “rear-view mirror” at the likes of an ever-improving McIlroy, the Northern Irishman has gone about his business with calm precision. His Tour Championship success last September was backed up by victory in the Shanghai World Golf Championships, which well and truly laid down a marker for Koepka and co.

No-one can argue that McIlroy is a streaky golfer any longer

Even after the Christmas season, McIlroy showed no signs of letting up. He featured at Torrey Pines, where he finished tied for third place. It was a result that would prove enough to help him leap-frog Koepka into top spot in the world rankings for February and beyond. Such is his form that it was no surprise to see him rated as the rated as the favourite by the sportsbooks for the currently postponed PGA Championship.

But despite his recent reliability on the courses, McIlroy has found it almost impossible to shed the tag of being a somewhat ‘streaky’ golfer. At face value, you can understand the tag to some extent. After all, it’s been over five years since McIlroy’s last of his four majors. However, you really need to dig a little deeper to realise that McIlroy has been one of the top performers in world golf for over a decade now, despite an inability to build on his major successes.

Since the end of the 2009 season, when McIlroy entered the top ten of the world rankings, the Northern Irishman has dropped no lower than 13th since then. It’s a remarkable feat made even more impressive when you acknowledge that even the likes of Jordan Spieth and Jason Day have dropped to 49th and 38th in the rankings of late. The harsh reality of professional golf is that each tournament can have only one winner, but multiple players can play well each event without getting the silverware they deserve.

A laudable commitment to his body as well as his golf game

Not only is Rory McIlroy a mercurial golf talent, he is also an exceptional athlete too. There is no better proof of McIlroy’s commitment to looking after his body than his recent metrics posted on his Peloton bike. The home-based cycling craze has been adopted by McIlroy, who admitted recent impressive statistics posted via Peloton were attributed to him. The figures showed that McIlroy was capable of riding almost 20 miles on his Peloton bike at an average speed of more than 26mph. It placed him 11th out of the total 9,240 active riders on the Peloton leaderboard.

McIlroy revealed that while he owns a Peloton bike at home, he does his best to hop aboard a Peloton bike two or three times a week when he’s away on tour. McIlroy’s figures have created a sense of competition among professional golfers that use the subscription-based Peloton service. Billy Horschel is one such player from the PGA Tour to try and pit their physical attributes against McIlroy’s figures. Unfortunately for Horschel, he only managed 17 miles at an average speed of 23mph.

McIlroy throws his weight behind the PGA Tour

Despite being one of golf’s box office players, Rory McIlroy has also recently given the PGA Tour a much-needed vote of confidence in the face of a potential Premier Golf League being established. A breakaway circuit has been recently mooted, with a $240 million proposal recently rejected by McIlroy in favour of being “on the right side of history”.

An unknown consortium is reportedly keen to create a new competition format for the sport’s top 48 players in the world rankings, who would compete in an 18-event campaign. Every tournament would feature a highly lucrative $10 million purse, with winners picking up $2 million. McIlroy admits “the more he’s thought about it the more he doesn’t like it”. He prefers the “autonomy and freedom” of the current PGA Tour.

Whether many of McIlroy’s counterparts feel the same remains to be seen, with the likes of Phil Mickelson and Justin Rose yet to rule out taking part. The consortium will also be holding its breath and hoping the iconic Tiger Woods throws his weight behind the project, but McIlroy believes Woods’ family commitments and the gruelling 18-event schedule proposed may rule him out already. One thing is for sure, McIlroy remains a fantastic ambassador for the traditions of professional golf.

Thanks to Sports Betting, New Jersey Horse Racing Is Looking Up

Monmouth Park by Rich Nilsen

copyright 2016 AGameofSkill.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Last Friday, the New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) hosted its annual Day at the Races event. The meeting, designed to focus on legal issues in the state horse racing industry, was held at Monmouth Park.

Last year, Monmouth Park made headlines by taking the first legal sports bet in New Jersey, when Gov. Phil Murphy put $20 on Germany to win the FIFA World Cup.

The NJSBA event was moderated by Monmouth Park CEO Dennis Drazin, who was recently inducted into the Sports Betting Hall of Fame for his role in bringing the industry to New Jersey.

Along with Drazin, former New Jersey senator Ray Lesniak was on hand to discuss the status of horse racing in the Garden State.

“Less than one year [after the PASPA overturn], sports bettors wagered more in New Jersey than in Nevada which had a virtual monopoly on legal sports betting for more than 20 years. It took New Jersey less than a year to overcome that more than 20-year advantage,” said Lesniak.

Playing Saratoga – Get  this 9 Keys to Winning

N.J. Legalized Sports Betting. Will it Challenge Nevada? Help Horse Racing?

Exactly a year ago, Gov. Phil Murphy traveled to Monmouth Park racetrack in Oceanport and made history by placing the first legal sports bets in New Jersey.

He wagered $20 apiece on Germany winning the World Cup and the New Jersey Devils taking the Stanley Cup. Both bets were a bust.

But a year later, elected officials, industry leaders, and gaming experts say the Garden State’s years-long gamble to fight pro sports leagues — all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court — to legalize sports betting has paid off big time.

On a national level, New Jersey’s successful court case opened the door for sports betting to become legal across the country.

On a local level, leaders say, it has helped provide a jolt to the state’s casinos and horse-racing industries, created hundreds of new jobs, provided the state with a bit more in tax revenue, and given New Yorkers a new reason to cross the Hudson River.

“I would characterize New Jersey as a success story and model for the rest of the country,” said Daniel Wallach, founder of Wallach Legal LLC, the first law firm in the country with a focus on sports betting.

Murphy took it a …

Monmouth Park waiting on multimillion-dollar subsidy for horse racing

New Jersey has brought in over $1 billion in revenue in sports betting since it was made legal last year.

Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport alone made millions – but the owners say that they need more revenue to survive.

They are banking on a subsidy from the state to contribute to racing purses. The $20 million subsidy has been approved in the state Legislature. But now the horse racing industry is waiting for lawmakers to vote on it.

Monmouth Park officials say the subsidy is important for scheduling. A higher purse means better talent coming to race.

Officials say they are used to waiting. They are forced to make changes every year to benefit races, including the date of the Haskell Invitational – one of horse racing’s most well-known races.

Scandal in $2.5M Sports Betting contest?

Ugly Ending to DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship

A national sports betting handicapping contest with a $2.5 million prize pool ended in controversy Sunday in New Jersey, after the Day 3 leader was prevented from making his final wager before the NFC divisional-round game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints kicked off.

A contestant with the username rleejr86 ended up winning the first DraftKings Sports Betting National Championship instead, grabbing the $1 million first prize with a final bet of $47,500 on the Eagles +8.5.

The Saints won 20-14, but the Eagles covered the spread, boosting rleerjr86’s bankroll to a contest-winning $101,474.

More than 200 bettors from different parts of the country entered the $10,000 buy-in contest and combined to wager more than $5 million during the three-day event that was headquartered in Jersey City.

However, it was the bets that couldn’t be placed by the leader before the final game in the contest kicked off that were the source of dispute.

Professional sports bettor Rufus Peabody, competing under the username Opti5624, was leading the contest heading into the Eagles-Saints game, with a nearly $82,000 bankroll that he compiled after winning an all-in wager on the New England Patriots -3.5 against the Los Angeles Chargers in Sunday’s AFC divisional-round game. The Patriots won …

Lawmakers Try to Boost New Jersey Horseracing Industry with $100M in Subsidies

There’s bipartisan support in Trenton for a measure one critic decries as ‘an insult to the taxpayers of New Jersey’ Racing at Monmouth Park New Jersey lawmakers are looking to revive taxpayer-funded subsidies for the horseracing industry with legislation that would provide a total of $100 million over the …

But critics have labeled the proposed taxpayer-funded subsidy a “bailout” and are questioning how a state with perennial budget problems could afford to cover the annual payments that would be promised under the proposed legislation.

Horseracing has long been a part of New Jersey’s sports landscape, with Freehold Raceway and Monmouth Park both tracing their roots to the 1800s. Both tracks are still operating today, and the state’s other remaining horse track is in the Meadowlands, where races started being held in the 1970s.

Is Fantasy Football A Game of Skill or A Game of Luck?

Skill or Chance fantasy sports

DALLAS – DEC 14: Taken in Texas Stadium on Sunday, December 14, 2008. Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo waits for the snap from the center.

We could talk all day about probability theory, the law of large numbers, the gambler’s fallacy, Bertrand’s box paradox, the Monty Hall problem and other brain-teasing puzzles of probability and still fail to come to grips with Derrick Henry’s improbable fantasy football performance on Thursday (12/6/18) for the Tennessee Titans.

You could not have predicted the running back’s near 50-point performance. And nobody did because Henry wasn’t even the most productive fantasy back on his own team before re-entering the American sports consciousness for the first time since 2015 when he won the Heisman Trophy while playing at Alabama.

There was good news and bad news in all this, depending on your league and your perspective. Unless you play in a touchdown-only league or a very large standard league, chances are you weren’t victimized by Henry’s career day in Nashville, because your opponent had him on the bench. Nor did you benefit, because you also had him benched.

NY and CA are prime examples of why all states don’t have sports betting . . . yet

New York and California are prime examples of why all states don’t have sports betting . . . yet Off Shore Gaming Assocation Hartley examines why just a handful of U.S. states have passed sports betting laws, despite the repeal of PASPA nearly seven months ago.

Source: NY and CA are prime examples of why all states don’t have sports betting . . . yet

Daily Fantasy Tax Reporting

Sports betting“At the onset of Daily Fantasy Sports, there was much debate as to what type of “activity” individuals are engaging in. The IRS determined that playing DFS was a game of skill and technical ability. Players had to develop a strategy, research athletes, and build a team that will gain the most points possible in order to win a “set prize.” Compared to gambling activities, where the IRS views those activities as a game of “luck,” winning an undeterminable amount (the professional gamblers in the community would disagree). This distinction caused DraftKings and Fan Duel to mail out Form 1099-Misc to their participants. This opens up DFS income into a grey area of taxation. Is your playing style a hobby or full time job/business? We will discuss further.

Note: You cannot write off gambling losses against your DFS income. They are two different activities with different tax rules. Sorry!

If you have winnings of over $600 from any daily fantasy sports site, such as FanDuel or DraftKings, you will likely receive a Form 1099-MISC with the amount shown on Box 3. It is advised that you to report all earnings on your income tax return and not just earnings reported to you on a 1099-MISC or other tax forms…”

Daily Fantasy Tax Reporting.  Read the rest below.

RotoGrinders: Daily Fantasy Tax Reporting

EquiLottery Rebrands to Include Sports

CEO Brad Cummings

CEO Brad Cummings

EquiLottery, a gaming company best known for its live horse racing lottery game Win Place Show™, is transitioning its corporate identity and evolving its mission to better serve its lottery customers. Rebranded as EquiLottery Games, the company will expand its pioneering vision for live sports lottery games from a single horse racing product to now include baseball, basketball, football, golf, hockey, soccer and stock car racing.

These games are built on the same patented platform as Win Place Show, EquiLottery Games’ flagship product based on the results of live horse racing. Win Place Show will be launched on a trial basis by the Kentucky Lottery in March of 2019.

“We have always been a future-focused company, leading the way on products that combine the excitement of live sports with the lottery draw experience,” said EquiLottery Games CEO Brad Cummings. “Our original vision was to introduce live horse racing to new fans through government lotteries. We have now expanded our offerings to include lottery games based on all live sports. This solves a pain point for lotteries by allowing them to offer a form of sports wagering through their existing statutes and retail channels with low-risk games designed to appeal to their player base.”

EquiLottery Games will now introduce six new games for lotteries to offer their players in addition to Win Place Show. The team sport parlay game allows players to buy lottery tickets based on a slate of ten games from the big five professional sports in the U.S. — baseball, basketball, football, hockey and soccer. Matching the winner of all ten games returns an estimated top prize of $1,000. Car Cash features tickets listing three drivers in a 40-car race and pays out an estimated $50,000 top prize. Golfing for Gold is based on a ticket featuring three golfers and pays an estimated top prize of $2,000,000. All games are quick pick only, meaning the randomization happens at the pick while the draw is a live, authentic sporting event.

All EquiLottery duties will be assumed by EquiLottery Games, including the preparation for and launch of Win Place Show by the Kentucky Lottery beginning March 24, 2019. For more information on these new live sports lottery games, including specifics on how they work, as well as the vision for EquiLottery Games, visit www.EquiLotteryGames.com.

Press release