It took me a while to see the appeal of Golf as a betting sport. But over time I’ve learnt to enjoy getting stuck into the big Golf tournaments. This week we have the grand daddy of the lot, the Open Championship, being held this year at Royal Lytham and St Annes Golf club.
The thing that really caught my eye was the large price of winners on a lot of tournaments, especially the highly competitive and tricky majors. The set up for these majors are notoriously difficult, even for seasoned professionals, and this is why they often throw up winning outsiders at massive odds. If you look at the last three winners of the Open Championship we have Darren Clarke, Louis Oosthuizen and Stewart Cink. They came in at decimal odds of 180, 490 and 800. I am sure you will agree that these are rather appealing odds to pick a winner at!
Other than the course set up, the other factor that throws up big priced winners is how slim the difference is between success and failure. I looked at the stroke average of all players in golf majors between 2001 and 2011 and the difference between the top player and the player in 25th place was only two strokes. So over 18 holes and roughly 72 shots the difference between first and 25th place is just two shots, or two putts, or maybe a shot and a putt. The margins for error are very small.
The trick to finding a golfer who is likely to steam in during the in-play period is to actually not be too specific. On day one of the 2012 US Open Micheal Thompson finished the day on top of the leaderboard. His odds came in from 690 at the start of the tournament to 30 at the end of the day one. A £10 stake would have returned £220. This meant that you could have bet on 22 players and still have achieved break even overall. So rather than picking just one or two players, it often makes sense to back more than one player who has the possibility of getting into contention.
The conditions look mixed and the course set up tough this week. The 200 or so bunkers don’t look welcoming, so that should add some spice to proceedings. I’m already active building a position in the market. Can’t wait for the first player to tee off!