Golf Betting: Three punting lessons to learn from the 2013 majors

The Masters title looks like being the first of many majors for Adam Scott

Paul Krishnamurty reflects on this season's four majors and identifies three useful punting angles to bear in mind for future...

"Adam Scott has become a virtual mainstay in contention ever since dramatically cutting his schedule...Were he to place a greater emphasis on the weekly fare, who can say how many more ranking points the world number four would have?"

Adam Scott is now the man to beat in majors

If the number of wins in a season, or the world rankings, are the ultimate guide to golf form, Tiger Woods remains undisputably golf's top man. On the courses he knows best and loves the most - Firestone, Torrey Pines, Bay Hill - he remains virtually unbeatable. The gap in ranking points between Woods and the next best, is equivalent to the gap between world number two Phil Mickelson and 38th placed Scott Piercy.

If, on the other hand, one measures the golfing hierachy by the most important events of the year, a very different story emerges. Woods hasn't won a major for over five years now and, while he's contended for a while in some recent ones, his record is no better than half a dozen other top players. In contrast, Adam Scott has become a virtual mainstay in contention ever since dramatically cutting his schedule to prioritise the biggest events. Were he to place a greater emphasis on the weekly fare, who can say how many more ranking points the world number four would have against his name?

Being picky, one could say he wobbled in front at the last two Opens and again last week in the USPGA, and nobody would argue that Adam or anyone else has the winning temperament of Woods at his peak. Nevertheless, a bombproof temperament is not all that important when golf trading. Anyone who backed Scott before those three majors that ultimately ended in defeat, (or of course before his win at the Masters), had the chance to bank a massive profit by laying back at short prices. So long as he remains anywhere near the 20.019/1 quote seen in this year's majors, Scott is a must bet, at least a back to lay.

Follow the thirtysomething theory, except in the Open

This theory, which I laid out prior to the Masters, has been spectacularly borne out in the US majors. It states that players generally only hit their peak after 30, and this age range is fertile territory for finding first-time major winners. Adam Scott at the Masters, Justin Rose at the US Open and USPGA champ Jason Dufner all fitted the perfect profile. 

The Open Championship, however, again proved the exception, with Phil Mickelson becoming the third straight 40-something winner. In that event, links expertise is the key and that only comes with experience, as one-time serial links-failure Mickelson demonstrated.

So who are the 30-somethings to follow in next year's majors? The leading three non-winners in the world rankings are Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker and Henrik Stenson. Notably, all three contended at short prices in at least one of this year's majors. 

Previous course form offers invaluable clues for in-running trading

We golf punters rightly spend hours studying the form of players, yet trends without any relationship to the individual or recent form can prove just as useful. In particular, an essential in-running trading angle is to check how the scoring at previous events on the course panned out, day by day. One of the most famous examples is that every final round leader in an Open at St Andrews went on to win. That includes a 600.0599/1 outsider last time around. On the other extreme, the last two Carnoustie champions won from six and ten back going into Sunday! 

Oak Hill proved the point in spades. As noted pre-tournament, past majors there had seen the early leaders dominate throughout, with no gatecrashers from the back. This time, every player in contention had been within three shots of the lead throughout. The winner was the halfway leader and the top-three through 54 holes merely exchanged positions. 

The way to profit from this angle, is to use past stats to inform your daily betting. Obviously those stats offer a huge final day betting clue, but the very best value is often to be found after just one or two rounds. So for example after the first round, if the last three winners started within three, restrict your calculations to anyone within that range. By doing so, your shortlist will be narrowed markedly.

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