Many golfers warm up prior to teeing off by visiting the driving range and practicing hitting with iron and wood clubs to improve distance and accuracy for their long game, or the putting green, practicing various shots to improve their short game. Some golfers prefer to play nine holes at a time, while others play the full 18, and the vast majority of courses offer golf carts.
Woods has been said to have single handedly revived the game of golf over the last 10 years or so, winning 14 major tournaments and topping the PGA Tour money list seven of the last 10 years. He has earned more than $10 million in three of those years, a feat that was unheard of before his time. As video games have become more popular each year, Woods has been chosen to endorse EA Sports’ golf game. No other major sports game – besides Tony Hawk’s skateboarding series – is named after an individual athlete.
The origins of golf can be traced back hundreds of years, all the way back to Scotland where it is thought to have been invented. The oldest course in the world is considered the Old Links at Musselburgh Racecourse in Scotland back in the 1600s. In the United States, some of the most historic golf courses are Augusta in Georgia, where the Masters Tournament is held each year, and Pebble Beach Golf Links in Florida, the home of several professional tournaments each year.
Professional golf has existed in the United States in some form since 1916, but the Professional Golf Association (PGA) Tour was officially established in 1968. Since then, the two greatest golfers in the United States are considered Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. Nicklaus won 18 major tournaments – of which there are only four per year – and won 73 tournaments on the Tour over the course of his 24 year career, second all-time only to Sam Snead, who was undoubtedly the greatest golfer of his generation as well.
Golf betting doesn’t bring in a handle like football or basketball, but it is quickly becoming one of the most popular wagers at sportsbooks – especially during the dog days of summer, which can limit sports bettors to just a handful of options.
Just like when wagering on any team sport, golf betting has its own backstory that sharp bettors must consider. Current play, weather, and even injuries can all play a part in how a tournament finishes, and even the world’s No. 1 player is a factor golf bettors must consider.
Here are some handy tips for betting on the links . . .
There’s never been a bigger name in golf – and maybe all of sports – than Tiger Woods. After years of success, and the fame that goes along with it, the golf betting odds on Woods usually come with a price. Any tournament Tiger attends draws more action, and oddsmakers will always tag him as the sportsbook favorite.
While laying money on Woods is never a bad bet, finding value in the golfers behind him can be more profitable. Even big names like Phil Mickelson and Geoff Ogilvy will come at discount prices when Woods is on the course.
And if the temptation to bet Tiger is too large, holding off until the second or third round is a better strategy. Woods is notorious for his later-round heroics and will provide better value if he is trailing after the first or second day.
The first thing any bettor should consider is how a golfer is playing heading into a tournament. Just like any other sport, golfers can get hot and cold. Keeping an eye on the leaderboards for past events may not be enough.
Sharp golf bettors are watching events and reading as much on possible plays as they can. There is enough coverage of professional tours to hear about any player’s strengths and struggles, whether it be problems off the tee box or leaving their putts a little short.
Golf bettors should also note a player’s familiarity with a course. While the holes are constantly changing, some golfers consistently excel at some courses more than others. Woods has dominated the field whenever he tees up at Bay Hill, winning six of the past 10 invitational tournaments.
Weather and course conditions
The 2009 U.S. Open was a textbook example of weather having an impact on the field. The waterlogged course kept golfers and bettors on their toes with slow greens and unpredictable lies.
Tracking the weather and course conditions can give you an edge when it comes to picking out plays. Accurate strikers like David Toms are valued more for keeping the ball high and dry. On longer or dry courses, big swingers like Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson get more bang for your buck off of the tee box.
Injuries and other factors
Golf is tough on the body, and keeping up with the latest aches and pains can save golf bettors a ton of money. Whether it is a sore lower back or a wobbly knee, a grueling four-day tournament can take its toll.
Other factors can come into play when taking aim at the betting board. Players tinkering with their swing should throw up caution flags, as well as players coming off long layoffs due to personal or injury issues.
Even a change in caddie, like LPGA star Lorena Ochoa’s recent decision to drop long time caddie David Brooker and take on veteran Greg Johnston, should be taken into consideration before placing any golf bets.