By Phil Simon
The biggest tournaments on the professional golf circuit always draw the largest crowds and create the most buzz. They are also a boon for sportsbooks, which break out all the betting markets as the wagers tend to flow. While they don’t have the largest purse among the PGA Tour’s roughly 50 tournaments a season, they are the most prestigious attracting the biggest names in the sport.
Those tournaments are the U.S. Open, The Masters, PGA Championship and The Open Championship. Collectively they are called the major championships and they are the perfect opportunity for beginning sports bettors to get a taste of how to wager on professional golf.
Golf’s Major Championships
The major championships are the four most prestigious tournaments in professional golf attracting the best players from around the world. The reputations of players are largely defined by the number of major championship victories. Along with being crowned a major champion and the hefty payday that comes with it, there are other notable perks. The winner receives a five-year exemption so he doesn’t have to requalify for a Tour card. The other majors are The Masters, PGA Championship and The Open Championship, also simply known as The Open.
In a normal year when a global pandemic doesn’t interrupt the schedule, the U.S. Open is played in the month June with the final round scheduled to be played on the third Sunday, or Father’s Day. It is the third of golf’s four major championships to be played during the year and is on the schedule of both the PGA Tour and European Tour. The tournament is the annual national championship of golf in the United States, though the field consists of a number of foreigners who qualified by various means over the course of the year.
Unlike The Masters, which is played at the same venue every year, the U.S. Open is contested at different courses and set up in a way that makes scoring difficult. It’s not unusual to see the winner at even-par or worse. In the 2020 edition Bryson DeChambeau was the only player to score below par winning the tournament by six shots. First contested in 1895, the U.S. Open has used 52 different courses during its lifetime. Oakmont Country Club in western Pennsylvania has hosted a record nine times, the last in 2016.
Betting on golf is easy but things get more interesting during a major championship. We tend to see sportsbooks offer more in terms of prop betting while also adding to existing markets. Because of this it’s helpful to know a little about the players and their history in majors as well as their form on the course.
How to bet on the U.S. Open
How to bet on the U.S. Open doesn’t change, it’s the same for every golf tournament. The difference is that sportsbooks tend to increase the number of wagering opportunities, which can be beneficial and overwhelming to golf bettors. The most common betting option is on the outright winner. In this case odds are determined ahead of the event and you simply pick a winner. Of course before doing that you studied up on the field to determine where the best value play is. You don’t want to go in blind since that’s an easy way to lose your wager.
At The Masters course form is a strong indicator since the tournament is played at the same venue. The U.S. Open on the other hand changes sites every year. Don’t fret, there are ways around that. Most of the courses are similar in design with length, narrow fairways and undulating greens. You can pinpoint a player’s stats on correlated courses and come up with a strong play. For the 2020 U.S. Open DeChambeau was at +2200 meaning a $100 wager would have paid $2200.
The prop market is huge for the majors. With all the attention directed at the U.S. Open when it’s played, sportsbooks look to take advantage of the novice gamblers curiosity. A prop bet has nothing to do with the outcome of the tournament but provides side action to make things more interesting. Will there be a hole-in-one? Who will be the top American finisher? Will DeChambeau hit a 400-yard drive? These are just a few examples of hundreds of prop bets that are available. Some sportsbooks will have a larger prop menu than others, and the odds vary so shop around to see what best fits your betting needs.