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Why Bet on Golf?

Apart from being a wonderful sport to play, golf is also a fun and potentially very rewarding sport to bet on.

One of the biggest reasons is that golf tournaments regularly produce big priced winners. With around 150 golfers in the field, there are handsome rewards for backing the right player…. 100/1 winners (or greater) are not unusual. For example, the American golfer Todd Hamilton recently won the British Open at Troon at pre-event odds of 400/1 with atleast one fixed odds bookmaker and at 599/1 (600.0 in decimal odds) on the exchanges. Just backing one or two winners at those odds in a season can be very profitable!

But isn’t it very difficult to back winners when there are so many competitors in every tournament?

Well yes, finding winners of golf tournaments is difficult with so many “runners” in the field. However there are a number of points to consider. Firstly, you can usually eliminate many players from the reckoning either because they’re not currently in good form or just don’t have any record of finishing high up the leaderboard. Many of these so-called journeymen golfers make a decent living producing consistent but unspectacular results whilst rarely threatening the leaderboard on the final day.

In fact, most golf tournaments are won by players ranked in the top 30 of their respective tours money list for that season. Take a look through the 2004 tour shedule and results page here and see how the same players keep cropping up as tournament winners. Aside from the household names like Woods, Michaelson, Els and Singh (aka the ‘big four’), there are plenty of other lesser known players consistently producing top performances, Scott Verplank and Adam Scott for example.

Consider also that you can back players each-way (E/W) to be placed in the first four or five places in a tournament. This is a two-fold bet, one part ‘To Win’, the other for a ‘Place’. If several players finish with identical scores, and are sitting in the 4th or 5th best positions, then the bookmakers pay out on all E/W bets on every player sitting in the first four or five places. So you could easily have payouts on eight or nine players (although dead-heat rules will apply – check the individual bookmaker for details).

On Exchanges and some fixed odds bookmakers like PaddyPower it’s also possible to bet Place-Only if you think a player will do well but is unlikely to win.

The match (head to head) or Group betting markets also offer bettors the opportunity to bet on one player against one other or just a few other players, thus increasing your chances of winning.

Finally, the best reason to bet on golf in my opinion, is that you don’t necessarily need to pick the winner of golf tournaments to make profits! The advent of sports spread bookmakers and latterly, exchange betting on sites such as Betfair has revolutionised sports betting and given punters greater opportunities to bet profitably than ever before.

For example, say you had backed a golfer to win the U.S Masters at odds of 100/1 before the tournament start. If after a round or two, your selection is high on the leaderboard, his odds to win may well have fallen to say, 40/1. You can then lay your selection off to lock in a profit for yourself regardless of the outcome, or lay just a proportion of your initial stake back to secure greatly inflated odds for your bet.

Now your 100/1 shot is a 150/1 or 200/1 shot and in a good position to win! This ability to bet, lay (or both) either between rounds or whilst play is in progress (a.k.a. “in-running”) is fundamental to successful golf betting.


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