GOLF AND WINNING

Golf is not a team sport, some events start with thousands of qualifiers and yet there is still only one winner. Golf is brutally demanding, and usually more disappointing than not.

John Rahm didn’t really care about finishing in a tie for 3rd, he just missed to many putts throughout the event to really challenge for this title. Collin Morikawa prevailed in the end because he hit it the best, and certainly putted the best. He held off charges from Rahm and Spieth, and in the end was the best player.

I have the the worst record of betting on the Open Championship over the past ten years. I’ve been going to the UK prior to the Open the past 10 years to prepare for the Senior Open which is always played the week after the Open. There is a betting site (William Hill, BetFred, Corral) on almost every street in the UK to bet on just about anything imaginable.

This year, I went to the UK to play in the Senior Amateur and Senior Open, only to withdraw from both due to ankle issues that don’t let me walk and play golf. The few bets I made on Wimbledon were fun and exciting, but not profitable. However upon my return to the USA, I studied the odds of the Open players very carefully, and decided to make three bets on three players to win the Open.

I chose Jordan Spieth at 18:1 because he is trending in the right direction, loves the golf over there and has won it before. My next pick was Louis Oosthuizen, how could you not bet on Louis at 25:1 after his performance in the US Open and the PGA Championship when he had chances to win both majors.

My final pick was due to the odds placed on him, and how good this kid has shown to be in the big moments, and that is, yes, Collin Morikawa at 28:1. I put $250 on each of them, and had the best time ever watching the Open as my three picks for most of the tournament were running 1-2-3 like in a horse race that you just cannot lose.

My three big threats were always DJ, Koepka and of course Rahm. They all had a bad stretch of holes that kept them just far enough back to make it very difficult to catch the leaders. Rahm was the biggest threat going into Sunday, but did not start off well on day 4 and was too far back by the time he lit up the back nine.

My $7000 win on Morikawa made a tiny dent in all the hundreds of losing tickets I have placed over in the UK at these sports betting houses. But next to betting on US Football, betting on golf is a lot of fun, where every shot makes someone happy or sad.

After the Open, I was excited to watch the Barbasol Championship as my friend James Hahn started the day two shots back after a career low 60 on Saturday when he had a putt on 18 for a 59. James got it to -4 after 12 holes and was in the thick of it until the 18th hole. J.T. Poston had a commanding lead until somehow he snapped hooked a drive out of bounds on the 15th hole (the easiest hole on the course) and made a double bogey. He still had the lead, until a very bad three putt on the very next hole.

James would have tied the lead with two pars on 17 and 18. He was in perfect shape in the fairway on both holes with no more than 9 iron into the greens. He missed both greens and failed to get up and down. Had he even made one par and tied for 3rd, it would have been another $100,000 added to his paycheck. The pressure these guys struggling to stay in the top 125 is excruciating, and anyone that thinks playing golf for a living is easy, knows nothing about the time, energy, effort involved in just having a chance at the winners circle.

Perhaps you can say Seamus Power is lucky to have won the event, but he still shot -21 over 4 rounds of golf. Yes the course was certainly easier than Royal St George’s but still not an easy test of golf. James also held the lead by three shots on the back nine earlier in Phoenix while playing with Brooks Koepka. again James had a poor stretch of holes costing him well over a million dollars.

But it’s not the paycheck that matters most, its the tour exemption for two years and all the extra events you get into. With so many good players every year coming out of college to join the PGA Tour (Korn Ferry first) it makes what Collin Morikawa has done even more impressive. This guy is very rare in the game of golf to be this good and mature at 24 years old.

I met Collin in the Bay Area while he was at Cal going to school. He was a very mature and affable guy, and a pleasure to speak to.

Today was the Senior Open qualifier in the UK at three sites. I had two friends attempt to qualify at Burnhill Golf Club near London. They shot a 79 and a 76 with 74 now playing off for the final spot at this qualifying site. I counted only 6 Americans attempting to qualify out of about 300 players. Both my pals quarantined for 5 days upon their arrival, and then hit the links to learn the qualifying course.

It kills me to be here, and not there playing in this event. The Senior Open is at Sunningdale, where I played in my first Open in 2009. It is one of the best courses in Europe, and would have been a dream week.

Gene Elliott whom just won the Senior Amateur at Ganton, is there and will be playing at Sunningdale. My prediction is he wins the silver medal for being low amateur, and making the cut.

Stay tuned for more later this week

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