US Open Betting

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Founded in 1916, the Professional Golf Association (PGA) conducts four major international tournaments a year. Among these, second on the schedule is the 72-hole U.S. Open Championship in June. With the exception of six cancellations due to World Wars, it has been an annual event since 1895, when Britain’s Horace Rawlins won at Rhode Island’s Newport Golf Club. The 110th installment was played at California’s Pebble Beach Golf Links in 2010 and won by Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland.

Betting on the U.S. Open usually gets under way immediately after the conclusion of the season’s opening major, the Masters, held in April. The heaviest form of wagering is ante post, as bettors begin taking stakes in the proposed winner of the tournament out of a field of 156 starters. High odds are the primary attraction.

To those confident of predicting accurately, the earlier the wagers are made the greater the potential winnings. Odds tend to shrink as intervening PGA tournaments are conducted, with as many as nine of them up for grabs between the Masters and the U.S. Open.

As an “open” tournament, the U.S. Open is open to any professional or amateur golfer who has a current USGA Handicap Index of 1.4 or under. Both male and female players are allowed, and there are no age restrictions. Qualifying events are conducted in two stages, locally over 18 holes at some 100 U.S. courses and regionally over 36 holes played in a single day at sites in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.

That said, roughly half of the competitors each year get into the tournament through one of 17 exemption categories. They range from the last ten winners of the U.S. Open and the previous year’s top 15 finishers to top money winners on the PGA Tour and European Tour. This ensures that the top names in golf are always in contention.

Past winners of the U.S. Open include the biggest names in golf: Casper, Els, Goosen, Irwin, Jacklin, Middlecoff, Miller, Palmer, Player, Sarazen, Trevino, Venturi, Watson, Zoeller, and more. Four players were victorious here four times apiece: Scotsman Willie Anderson and Americans Bobby Jones, Ben Hogan, and Jack Nicklaus. More recently, America’s Tiger Woods won the tournament in 2000, 2002, and 2008.

One aspect of this competition that makes is particularly challenging is the selection of courses on which it is played. The PGA moves the event to venues all around the country as part of its policy of bringing the U.S. Open to Americans everywhere, from Texas to Colorado and Ohio to Georgia.

The country’s oldest top-ranked course, Oakmont Country Club outside Pittsburgh, has hosted the tournament eight times and the Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey has been its home seven times. In 2011, the site is the Congressional Country Club at Bethesda, Maryland. After that, it moves to San Francisco, and then Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Washington.

Apart from ante post betting on the outright winner, wagering is also possible on who will fail to make the cut as well as player match betting, whereby two players are paired up in a hypothetical 72-hole contest. Groups of players can also be bet on, with odds offered on which will fare better.

A wager known as “ball betting” is also available. During the U.S. Open’s four days, one 18-hole round is played each day. On the first and second day, “three ball betting” has three golfers grouped together for a round with bets on which member of the threesome will have the lowest score of the day. On the last two days of the tournament, “two ball betting” pairs up golfers to see who will card the best round. In-running or “live” betting on other aspects of the game, such as near-pin shots, putts made or missed, and longest drive, are also offered.

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