Most weeks of the year there will be a handful of golf tournaments to bet on, and in the following article I will outline some of the things you may want to consider when placing a bet on a particular player.
Form should be foremost in your thoughts when trying to pick a potential winner of a golf tournament. No matter what else a player may have going for him in a particular event, if they are out of form, you should be very wary. Take a look at their last few events, is there a consistency there, or did they just miss three cuts, and take a particular look at the last round of the last event, did they just shoot a 63, or conversely an 80?
Taking this a stage further, I would also be more likely to back a player with an upward form trajectory – for example, missed cut, 47th, 19th, 8th in the previous four weeks than a player who is going the other way – for example 1st, 9th, 43rd.
One thing I would be wary of is backing a player who won last time out. Check out the player and see how they have reacted to winning in the past, some players will have a dreadful tournament the week after winning, some go on a run, and are highly backable the week after. I’d also look at this for players who go close, but just miss out (for example in a playoff) – how did they react the following week last time (or every time) they lost in a playoff.
The second biggest consideration should be how a player has played the course previously. Most tournaments are held annually, so you’ll have a pretty good form guide to go on.
A player who has won the event before has to be high in your consideration here, and consistent decent finishes at an event going hand in hand with current good form is a great recipe for success.
Don’t necessarily rule out a player who has a mixed record at an event – for example 5th, MC, 15th, 3rd, MC in the last five years – the player might have been on a dreadful run at the time of the missed cuts – so have a look at the results around those missed cuts, the player may have been truly out of form.
Obviously some of the players may not have played the course at all even if it is a regular venue, and one thing I would look at is what abilities seem to suit the course. Pick out two or three players who regularly finish highly at the course, and see what their strengths are - for example, driving accuracy, driving distance, putting etc (all these statistics are available on the major tour websites), and then see if these stats apply highly to a particular player.
Some events will have no course form at all, and obviously this can be quite tough – to grab a small edge, maybe see if it was used for an amateur event in previous years, and see if any of the current crop of players have good memories of the course. Some courses may be played only once every several years (Majors being the obvious example, apart from the Masters), and be careful into reading too much into course form at these, the course set up may have changed a lot in the intervening years (Major Championship courses regularly change to combat technology).
In golf, on a weekly basis different players will have different aims. A certain player may need a top three finish to move into the top fifty of the world rankings and thereby qualify for the next Major championship, another player may need a top ten finish to stay on tour the following season, another player may need a win to qualify for the Ryder Cup. There are many cutoffs in golf, and it pays to know when they are, and what players may benefit.
I wouldn’t necessarily say backing players in these situations is always a good thing, but players who have shown the ability to win, and make “clutch” plays in these situations, are certainly worth considering highly.
In the few days leading up to an event, keep a close eye on the news around the tournament. Who is talking a good game, who has decided to change their putter, who performed well in the pro-am, who is struggling with an injury etc etc.
The draw will be made a couple of days before most events, so make sure you are on top of the weather forecast – there may be a storm forecast for the Thursday morning but a wonderfully calm afternoon, so back those late starters!
The final and hugely important thing that I will mention is value. You’ve studied everything, and you’ve plumped for a player, and then the 20/1 you were hoping to see is actually 8/1 – don’t back the player. Only back a player if you perceive you are getting a decent price!
Obviously there are a lot of factors to consider each week, and you can spend as little or as much time you want on each and every factor –but one thing for sure is that you cannot have too much information. As Gary Player famously once said, “The more I practice, the luckier I get!”