As a general rule, it is bad business to bet on yourself when wagering against a PGA Tour Pro. Really bad business.
It’s bad business for several reasons. For one thing, it is much easier for a PGA Tour player to play at the level of a professional golfer than it is for you to excel at your game. Second, amateur athletes have a bad tendency to underestimate their skills compared to real professionals. And that’s not to mention the difficulty of a real handicap in a match between a professional golfer and an average joe.
But some betting opportunities are just too good to be missed, even if they involve PGA Tour players, as former ‘Crash’ actor Michael Peña explained on this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar.
The story begins at a celebrity golf tournament at the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, California, where Peña competed against Bubba Watson and his own stars alongside Tiger Woods and a handful of other celebrities.
WGC-FedEx St. Jude picks to win: Who the experts and a player bet on
Before the match began, Bubba’s caddy Ted Scott discovered Peña at work on the driving range.
“Bubba Watson, I said to his caddy, ‘Yes, I hit 250. I’ve met longer, ‘”said Peña. “His caddy said, ‘Brother, what are you talking about? You can’t do it, 250, dude. ‘”
Scott suddenly called to Bubba, who shared similar views on Peña’s long-range capabilities. Trash talks followed, culminating in an invitation to Watson to put his money where his mouth was. Of course, Bubba was obliged.
“Bubba Watson bet me on his watch that I wouldn’t make it to beat 250,” recalls Peña. “I got on the TrackMan, the first ride is 267. And Tiger says, ‘You said you’d give him a watch.'”
But Peña says he never received a payout.
“He never gave it to me,” he said.
Rather, he had to back off his bragging rights the hard way: he sank a 15-footer on the 18th at Riviera to beat Team Bubba and seal the tournament for himself.
“I liked a stutter step and an upper cut and left an ‘Ahhh!’ out, ”said Peña with a laugh. “That and the hole-in-one are probably the best golf stories I have.”
To hear the rest of Peña’s Subpar interview, check out the video below.
James Colgan is Associate Editor at GOLF, contributing stories for the website and magazine on a wide range of topics. He writes the Hot Mic, GOLF’s weekly media column, and leverages his broadcast experience on the brand’s social media and video platforms. A 2019 graduate of Syracuse University, James – and obviously his golf game – is still thawing from four years of gritting his teeth at NFL Films, CBS News, and Fox Sports. Before joining GOLF, James was a Caddy Scholar (and smart looper) on Long Island, which is where he’s from.