PICKING a winner in golf has become a lot harder over the past couple of years so I've asked our resident golf expert Ace Venturer to give us a few pointers on how he successfully plots his way through a packed field. Here is his Betting on Golf Masterclass.
A few years ago you could always rely on your Tiger Woods', Phil Mickelsons and all the top players to be fighting it out on the final day. But if you look at the results on this year’s PGA Tour you will find around 30 different winners and quite a few are first-time champions. It’s not that different on the European Tour.
Whereas you used to have maybe 10 players who would be a good bet each week you now have around 40-50. Sometimes your gut instinct is all it takes but there are things you can look out for that will help in your selections.
This is always a good pointer. I do take form into consideration but it’s not the be all and end all. You can have a guy who has been continually making top-10 finishes so there’s a good chance he will win soon. Then again a player could be rubbish for weeks and suddenly hit top form. We all know how fickle golf can be. Just take Jordan Spieth in last year’s Masters. Makes the turn on the last day well in front then hits two balls into the water and that’s it. Danny Willett wore the Green Jacket.
I then take a look at the course … does it favour a long hitter, does it have tight fairways and needs accuracy off the tee. What about the greens – are they fast, are there a lot of undulations where a good putter might be required? These are all things you need to consider when weighing up your shortlist.
Then go look at the players who have the best stats required for that course. How often do you see players rack up tournament wins at the same venue. Just like footballers who have a great record against certain teams, some courses just suit some players' games. The PGA Tour and European Tour websites have all the stats you need.
Driving Accuracy & Distance
Driving Accuracy and distance aren’t always necessary depending on the course but obviously if a player is accurate off the tee it means he will probably be in a better position for his second shot.
Greens in Regulation
I find Greens in regulation is always a good stat. If a player can land on the green in regulation he has a chance of a birdie no matter where he is on the green. Factor this into your considerations.
There are lots of different putting stats (Total Putting, Putting Average, GIR Putting Average, etc). It can sometimes be confusing which one to go for but I find putting average is the best one to follow.
Trust your instinct
Or you can just go on gut feeling … which I must admit was how I picked Spieth in The Open. I thought he had a chance a couple of weeks before Birkdale but as I looked at stats, and my list got longer, he was dropping out of my selections. However, I just had this feeling I couldn’t drop him. So as I said sometimes your gut is the way to go. Sometimes your first selection is the one to follow.
Anyway whichever way you make your selections, I hope you come out a winner.