By Phil Simon
The most prestigious events in professional golf take the game to another level on the course and at the betting window. In a non-pandemic year there are four such events known as major championships. These tournaments draw the best players in the world with a chance to stamp their name as one of the best players in the game.
Careers are defined by the number of major championship victories so there is added incentive to win. The Open Championship is the oldest of the four majors and is the last played in a normal calendar year following The Masters, The PGA Championship and the U.S. Open. Like for other marquee sporting events, sportsbooks go all out for the majors to try and nab a part of the increased attention and additional betting money. Typical betting markets are available with some variations, but the proposition bets are off the charts and unlike any other tournament during the year.
Golf’s Major Championships
If a golfer wins only one tournament during his entire playing career he better make it a major. The tournaments carry a lot of weight with other pros and sponsors, so there are plenty advantages off the course that come with winning. The Open Championship, otherwise known as The Open or the British Open, is the oldest of the four majors and oldest professional golf tournament currently in existence. It was first contested in 1860 and has been played every year with a few exceptions. Tournaments were canceled due to World War I and World War II. And the 2020 edition was shelved due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The only major played outside the United States, The Open is almost always played on a links-style course in the United Kingdom, usually England or Scotland. When it comes to wagering it’s a must to track a players performance on links courses. There are differences and players need to adapt. Links golf is often called the purest form of golf with courses situated on the coast. They are flat and wide open with no tree cover and bunkers always come into play. The one thing players can’t control is the wind, and links courses are almost always impacted by Mother Nature.
The Open takes place in July starting the day before the third Friday of the month. There have been only 14 host venues with the Old Course at St. Andrews doing the honors 29 times. The benefits of winning are enormous, but the real prize is the Claret Jug, which has been awarded to every winner since 1873.
Betting on golf is easy but things get more interesting around the majors. With a spike in interest sportsbooks offer more in terms of prop betting while also adding to existing markets. Because of this it’s helpful to research the field, especially how players perform on links courses. This will help you make a more informed wager.
How to bet The Open Championship
We discussed the basics in other articles and it’s a good idea for beginning bettors to stick to the simple stuff. With increased betting markets and a larger prop menu things can get overwhelming. Odds will be posted for an outright winner and there will be tournament and round matchups. If you feel better about your golfer placing in the top-10 instead of winning outright, there is a market for that. The odds will be shorter and the payout smaller, but there’s a reason for that; you just improved your chances of winning the bet.
American players don’t always play on links courses leaving them at a disadvantage. In 10 playings between 2010 and 2019 only three Yanks won The Open Championship. Even with the collection of big name players we see a longshot emerge victorious more often than not. A good example was in 2019 when Irishman Shane Lowry toppled the field by six shots. Lowry was positioned well down the odds board at +6600 behind such notables as Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Tiger Woods. A little $10 wager on Lowry paid a nice $660.
Proposition bets are always a fun and entertaining way to stay in the game. And sportsbooks expand their prop menu for major championships with bets we won’t see at any of the other 50 or so non-majors during the year. Will there be a hole-in-one or an albatross? How about throwing down on the nationality of the winner? Or the highest finishing American. These are all examples of the hundreds of prop bets available at most sportsbooks for a major championship week. Don’t forget to shop around for better odds and a bigger selection of wagers since not all shops are the same.