I’ve just gone a bit loopy on my betting account. I went on this morning with a view towards being conservative. I was intent I would back only the three men I selected as “Players to Watch” in the preview of the tournament I wrote yesterday. Those men were: Tiger Woods, Brandt Snedeker and Graeme McDowell.
Well I did have a little flutter on those players. Tiger at 10-1, since drifted to 11-1, seemed an incredible price. It’s just about the longest odds I can remember on the World Number 1 coming into a Major, save for in the depths of his doldrums a couple of years ago. I think it’s the wrong price. From his press conference he seems full of confidence, he’s won four tournaments this year and he shot 65 in his last competitive round on this course. Also, the course conditions are very similar to those in 2006 when he surgically dissected Royal Liverpool to win the Open there. I can see him using nothing more than a 3-iron from the tee, keeping the ball in play, aiming for the large parts of the greens and holing the odd long putt and steadily pulling away from the field. Last year at Lytham he employed that tactic in conditions that weren’t conducive to it, he played poorly and still finished tied for third.
OK, so he hasn’t delivered in recent Major Championships, (well he was tied fourth at The Masters – not exactly a disgrace,) but he also has 14 Major victories to his name and 37 top-10 finishes in only 68 starts. In my opinion, 10-1 is a very, very good price.
But, after I’d placed small wagers on my three favourites, I couldn’t help my eye being drawn to some of the other prices on the list. There were, I thought, some staggering odds to be had:
The man who lost last week in a playoff for the Scottish Open, Branden Grace at 66-1 – I couldn’t resist that.
Silky smooth Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts at 60-1 definitely warranted a couple of quid each way.
Supremely skilful BMW PGA Champion Matteo Manassero, what’s that? 80-1? I’ll have a little go!
Winner of the Joburg Open and twice a runner-up on this year’s European Tour, including two weeks ago in France – Richard Sterne: Did somebody say 110-1? Count me in.
Gareth Maybin has two consecutive top-10s on the European Tour and had a chance to win at Castle Stuart last week. Still very much an outside shout, but at 350-1 it’s surely worth a pound!
Basically I had to slam my laptop shut before I placed a bet on everyone in the field. No doubt the bookies know what they’re doing, but they do seem to be unusually generous this year.