A couple of years ago GM?s Jezz Ellwood and I had a discussion about a golf betting strategy. Looking back at the last few seasons he calculated that if you?d placed each way bets every week on the previous year?s winner of the tournaments on the PGA and European Tours you would have made a tidy profit. We decided to test the tactic through 2006.
Things began well as Stuart Appleby defended the Mercedes Benz Championship ? the first event of the year. There were a few other each way successes through the next couple of months then we came to the tournaments of March 30 to April 2. Unfortunately I was away that week and I?d been unable to get to a computer to put my bets on ? Paul Broadhurst in the Algarve Open and Phil Mickelson in the Bellsouth Classic. ?Never mind. One week off won?t ruin the system.? I thought. ?They?ll probably miss their respective cuts.? Imagine my distress when I got home to find both Mickelson and Broadhurst had defended their titles. What made it worse was that Broady had been 80-1! I gave up on the system immediately.
Anyway, what relevance does this little sob story have to current events, you might wonder? Not much really. I just remembered it and, after nearly two years, feel strong enough to write about such a traumatic experience. No, I lie. There was a scrap of relevance that triggered the memory:
The Alliance travelled to Peterhead yesterday, it was a good event for me last season as I won handicap class one. Perhaps a repeat was on the cards, maybe Bisset was worth an each way flutter? On the drive north Stewart and David competed to play down their chances, citing general lack of golf. Stu hadn?t played since before Christmas as he?s been working at Glenshee ski centre (they?ve actually got some snow so if you?re within striking distance go up and do some skidding around.) David had barely swung a club since Cruden Bay because he?s been working off shore. I?ve only played a couple of times in the last few weeks, but secretly I harboured hopes of pulling something out of the bag.
I managed to pull my waterproofs and a hat out of my bag but that was about it. I conspired to throw away shots faster than Newcastle United throw away managers. Good luck to Kevin Keegan by the way. Multiple three putts, thinned chips, out of bounds at the 10th: it was almost as if I was trying to rack up a big number. As it was, a couple of birdies in the last six holes saved my blushes and I finished with a six over 77. Stewart could only manage one better but that was enough to win the inaugural fiver of 2008 ? a terrible omen.
This morning I?ve read a report on yesterday?s competition in which the word ?calm? was used with reference to the weather. When I hit a good drive then a full five iron to the 330 yard fourth and still came up short, ?calm? would definitely not have featured on my list of words most appropriate for describing the conditions.