The unique nature of The Open Championship and links golf means that it’s the ultimate test of character and skill and presents a number of betting opportunities. This Open Championship golf trading strategy delves into the data, the course and trends to give you vital information to aid your decision making.
Trading golf is a useful tool to counteract the unpredictability of the sport and take advantage of the substantial odds on offer - learn how to trade golf to lock in a profit or reduce your risk.
In 2018, The Open Championship returns to Carnoustie for the first time since 2007, when Irishman Padraig Harrington famously won back-to-back titles, beating Sergio Garcia in a playoff.
Outside the other three Majors played in the US, experience does seem to count for a lot more at The Open given the unique style of links golf.
Seven of the last 10 Open winners were well into their 30s; and three of those – Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Darren Clarke were in their 40s. If you compare this to the US Open, where seven of the last 10 winners were in the 20s, that is quite a contrast. So as a starting point when considering your betting or trading positions don’t let age be a barrier, especially if that player has plenty of experience and decent links form to fall back on.
Also, when you consider that the market is usually dominated by the younger generation, these types of players can provide good trading positions at big prices.
Par 71, 7,402 yards
The course itself is an extremely long par 71, with only two par-5s and more out-of-bounds than nearly any other Open. Carnoustie also has plenty of devilish pot bunkers, adding to the traditional challenge of links golf’s unpredictable wind and weather.
Although far from the longest hitting golfer on tour, American Brandt Snedeker tweeted ahead of the tournament that he hit a drive 427 yards on the 18th, adding that the course is baked due to the recent heatwave being enjoyed in parts of the UK. So if the weather holds up we could be in for an altogether different Open than what we are normally used to, especially if the winds don’t arrive. This may also result in the rough not being as heavy as would usually be expected to be the case.
Holes to be aware of for in-play trading
Holes 7, 9 and 12
The par-4 7th seems relatively short at 410 yards. However, if you are not straight and true from the tee box you are either looking at an out-of-bounds down the left or a fairway bunker down the right.
A longer par-4 than the 7th at 474 yards, at the 9th accuracy is even more important with dangers lurking everywhere. From the tee, players must worry about the out-of-bounds to the left, the ditch to the right and fairway bunkers either side. If you tee off successfully and manage to find a nice spot on the fairway your approach to the green is not inviting with the front of the green surrounded by three bunkers.
The par-4 12 is long at 503 yards and much like the previous hole mentioned, hitting a good tee shot is imperative as all sorts of problems await an awry drive. There are two big fairway bunkers to the right and ditches on both sides. Much like the 9th, the approach to the green is a minefield for players with bunkers on either side of the front of the green.
Holes 15, 16, 17 and 18
Three of Carnoustie’s seven Opens have needed a playoff to decide the winner, demonstrating just how tough it can be for players to defend a lead or get home without the demanding finish or their own mind beating them.
Perhaps most memorable of all is Jean Van de Velde’s 1999 collapse on the 72nd hole with a three-shot lead, going into the water and sinking into a playoff which he would ultimately lose to home favourite Paul Lawrie.
Eight years later when The Open returned to Carnoustie in 2007, Sergio Garcia, who has long seemed destined to be an Open Champion with 10 top-10 finishes, led by three over Steve Stricker - who soon faded - and by six over the rest of the field, but ended up in a playoff with Harrington and lost out.
Whatever the weather in 2018, given the history and demands of this course for The Open, there is a strong argument for laying players in the final round who are short in the market.
Characteristics needed to perform well at The Open
Debutants should be avoided as only two have managed to triumph since 1975. Previous tournament experience of links golf would seem imperative.
If you are going for a player with very few appearances at The Open, then at the very least it would be wise to look to players who are already Major winners and considered elite world class players. Tiger Woods and Rory Mcilroy both managed on their sixth start and Jordan Speith on his fifth start. Multiple Major champion and one of the best of his generation, Phil Mickelson, didn’t lift the Claret Jug until his 19th appearance.
Henrik Stenson didn’t prevail until his 12th appearance, but his Open form before winning was littered with outstanding performances, including two tied-3rds and a second.
One last thing that seems worth mentioning is that since the Scottish Open – which is played the week before The Open - switched to a links course since 2011, those who play there seem to give themselves a better Open chance.
Six of the last eight Open winners have used the Scottish Open as their prep for the Open itself.
Apply this to betting
The Open Championship is a different challenge when compared to golf’s other Majors, largely due to the nature of links golf. Their defined characteristics create opportunities for bettors seeking value, which have been identified in this Open Championship trading strategy.