Posts Tagged ‘The Majors’

The Majors Part3 – The US OPEN…

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

the majors golf trophies 2In the third in our series of articles on golf’s Major events, this time we turn our attention to the second oldest event in the golfing diary – The US OPEN!

Every year we get excited about the upcoming golfing calendar with some enthusiasm. The ‘Grand Slam’ events in golf include:

– The US Masters (Augusta National) April

– The US Open (Various) June

– The OPEN (Various) July

– The PGA Championship (Various) August

This is then now complemented but The Olympics every four years (from 2016) with the host city supplying the venue.


The Majors – The US OPEN…

The golfing calendar is on and we have already got past the US Masters in April 2017, with maverick Sergio Garcia holding off Justin Rose in a dramatic and nerve-wracking play-off to emerge as the winner.

As the dust settles, everyone is waiting with bated breath for June 12, 2017.

That is the day that one of the most prestigious golfing events in the US, the 117th edition of the United States Open Championship, popularly referred to as The US Open, kicks off at Erin Hills in Erin, Wisconsin.

The US Open has a rich history spanning 117 years from the time it was held for the first time on October 4, 1895, at Newport Country Club in Newport, Rhode Island.

From fielding 10 professionals and one amateur in the day-long competition across 36 holes back then to its present avatar, to be held in Erin Hills, Erin, Wisconsin, this event has come a long way.

The 2017 edition will feature 156 players and comes with a prize fund of $12 million and is the first major with a winner’s prize in excess of $2 million.

US Open Trophy The Majors – Player Qualifications for the US Open 2017…

There are different routes that players can take to qualify for the US Open. For the 2017 event, there are a number of qualifiers that players can use to get to Erin Hills come June 12, 2017. These include:

– Local qualifiers:  held across the US. For this year’s US Open, currently 8979 players are competing for 525 spots

– Sectional qualifiers: held in Japan, England, and the US, with the first one being held at Ono Golf Club, Japan,

There are also 16 categories of exemptions available for players to use to participate in US Open 2017. These include…

– Winners of the US Open for the past 10 years

– Winner and Runner-up of 2015 US Amateur Championship – he must still be an amateur

– Winner of the 2016 Amateur Championship conducted by the R&A – he must still be an amateur

– Winner of the 2016 Mark H. McCormack Medal – he must still be an amateur

– Winner of The Masters Tournament for the past 5 years

– Winner of the Open Championship for the past 5 years

– Winners of the PGA of America Championship for the past 5 years

– Winners of the Players Championship for the past 3 years

– Winner of the 2017 European Tour BMW PGA Championship

– Winner of the 2016 US Senior Open Championship

– Gold medalist at the 2016 Olympic Games

– The lowest 10 scorers and ties in the US Open 2016

– 30 qualifiers for the 2016 season-ending Tour Championship of the PGA Tour

– Top 60 Point leaders in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) as of May 22, 2017

– Top 60 point leaders in the OWGR as of June 12, 2017

– Special exemptions as selected by the United States Golf Association (USGA)

 


The Majors – US Open 2017…

Erin Hill Golf Club - The US OPENThe US Open is the 5th major championship to be held in the state of Wisconsin – it has held 4 other PGA championships earlier apart from the US Amateur Championship in 2011.

Erin Hills is the venue of a major for the first time, which means the first thing to look out for is the course itself.

The Majors – The Erin Hills Course…

The course at Erin Hills is spread across 650 acres and the huge slopes all across it, together with the unpredictable weather, can make it quite an intimidating place to play at.

It can play up to 8100 yards, which makes it longer than Hazeltine National Golf Club where the 1991 edition of the Open was held.

This course will also be the first one in US Open history to play as a par-72.

Given the dry conditions, it is very likely that we will see some relatively low scores.

The Majors – Players to Watch Out For…

The 2017 US Open is a showcase event and the focus of the entire media – print, electronic, online and social – is squarely on golf and its players.

It is interesting to note that between 2000 and 2016 Americans have won the US Open 8 times.

Entering the US Open this year is quite easy – all you need is a 1.4 handicap and a $200 entry fee, after which you have to go through the qualifying grind.

This year, 9,485 players have entered the event, the fifth-highest number: the highest was 10,127 in 2014 at Pinehurst.

A galaxy of past champions will be part of the playing field this year including; Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Angel Cabrera, Graeme McDowell, Lucas Grover, Martin Kaymer, Webb Simpson. Some information on key players at the 2017 US Open is listed below….

Dustin JohnsonDustin Johnson - The US Open

Dustin Johnson is a big name to watch out for at the US Open this year, for a number of reasons. The first of course, is the fact that he is the current No.1 ranked player in the world.

And then there is the other little detail to consider: he is also the defending champion, having won a grueling battle at the Oakmont Country Club last year.

Out of the US Masters in April with a freak back injury, he is now back and in roaring form.

He will have an advantage at Erin Hills because of his length and the fact that this is an 8000+-yards course.

BMW Wentworth

Rory McIlroy

Currently ranked No.2 in the world, the Irishman went through a drought of titles in 2016. However, he bounced back with wins at the FedEx Cup and also the Tour Championships that year. He is one player who is a constant threat to all others when it comes to winning. He had had the distinction of holding the No.1 ranking for 95 weeks and is a 4-time Major champion. He is also a member of both the US and European PGA Tours.

Jordan Spieth

Jordan Spieth is a former No.1 ranking player in the OWGR and a 2-time Major champion. He is the youngest player to win the US Open, after Bobby Jones in 1923, and also the youngest runner-up in Masters history when he came second to Bubba Watson at The Masters in 2014. He has also tied the 72-hole record that had been set by Tiger Woods back in 1997, apart from being the 2015 FedEx Cup Champion.

Hideki Matsuyama

Hideki Matsuyama is a 24-year golfing prodigy from Japan who won four of his last five tournaments last year. This includes the Hero World Challenge and also a WGC event in China. He is a 4-time PGA Tour winner and 8-time Japan Golf Tour winner. His most recent win was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he defended his title against Webb Simpson.

Justin Rose

Justin Rose is an English professional golfer who plays on the PGA Tour. He is also a member on the European Tour. He was the first Englishman to win a Major since 1996, the year Nick Faldo won. He is also the first Englishman to win the US Open since Tony Jacklin in 1970. Rose has also tasted Olympic glory, having won gold at the men’s individual event in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. He has been in top form, despite losing out dramatically to Sergio Garcia at the US Masters this year. He is one player to watch out for.

Sergio Garcia

Sergio Garcia has been an enigma. He has played on the PGA as well as the European Tour on the PGA. A brilliant golfer who had a stunning 0 wins when it came to the majors, he broke the jinx at Augusta this year by winning the US Masters. He defeated Justin Rose in dramatic fashion in a sudden-death playoff, pulling off the win at the first hole.

Of course any player could win the trophy, but we think these players above are the ones to watch out for.


The Majors – Betting at the US Open…

Betting on golf has exploded in recent times because of easy access to the game – be it watching it on TV or following online – and also the opinions of golfing pundits.

Another major reason for this explosion is the wealth of licensed betting sites available to followers of the game and even to casual punters.

Millions of pounds are wagered almost daily at the various golfing events around the world, and the money only grows bigger when the event is something like the US Open.

The odds-on favourite of course is the No.1 ranked player in the world currently, Dustin Johnson; every sportsbook has seen money wagered on him. Leading bookmaker William Hill has the odds listed at 6/1 for Johnson.

The following are the odds on some of the other players winning, as per William Hill:

  • Jordan Spieth: 7/1
  • Rory McIlroy: 8/1
  • Jason Day: 10/1
  • Hideki Matsuyama: 14/1
  • Sergio Garcia: 20/1

There are rank outsiders as per the bookmakers too. These include Billy Horschel, Jason Dufner, Scott Piercy and Marc Leishman, all at 100/1, while Daniel Summerhays brings up the rear at 125/1.

So as 12th June approaches, you could get incredibly busy if you are into golf and also making some good money placing the right bets.

There are lots of guidelines that can help you decide whom you want to bet on, including form books, the official player profiles at the USPGA website and more.

However, regardless of who wins, this year’s winner is guaranteed the distinction of being the one with the biggest US Open paycheck ever!


By Ian Mullins

 

 

The Majors – Part1 The OPEN…

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

the majors golf trophies 2

Every year we look forward to the start of the new golfing season, which is traditionally marked by the first of the Majors, with tee shot being hit at The US Masters…..and 2017 will be no exception!

This event is quickly followed by the remaining ‘Grand Slam’ events including:

  • The US Masters (Augusta National) April
  • The US Open (Various) June
  • The Open (Various) July
  • The PGA Championship (Various) August

This is then now complemented but The Olympics every four years (from 2016) with the host city supplying the venue.

However, most of the discussion around these events in dominated each January by the talk of the pundits and on who will build on the success of the previous season and who is expected to break though into the top 50 and even the Top 10 and even win one of the above.

Predicting who the glory and trophies will go to isn’t as easy as you think!

In a series of article regarding The Majors in golf, we start with the first official event….


The-Open-Championship-The MajorsThe Majors – The Open Championship…

Golf’s Majors began with the introduction of The OPEN (only played in the UK) in 1860.

The Open was first played on 17 October 1860 at Prestwick Golf Club in Scotland.

The Open Championship is the only major hosted in the UK (Great Britain & Northern Ireland) and not at a course in the United States.

The oldest and arguably the most prestigious of all the Majors, players compete for the now famous Claret Jug – first presented in 1873 – is one of the most iconic trophies in all of sport, but originally they players competed for the Challenge Belt.

The inaugural tournament was restricted to professionals and attracted a field of eight golfers who played three rounds of Prestwick’s twelve-hole course in a single day.

The event was won with a score of 174 by Willie Park Sr. who beat one of golf’s original luminaries in the game.

The following year the tournament was opened to amateurs; eight of them joined ten professionals in the field.

However, when Old Tom Morris won this for the third time in 1864, he was allowed to keep The Challenge Belt and thus the Claret Jug was commissioned!

In 1871, it agreed to organise it jointly with The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and The Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers.

In 1892 the event was doubled in length from 36 to 72 holes, four rounds of what was by then the standard complement of 18 holes.

The 1894 Open was the first held outside Scotland, at the Royal St George’s Golf Club in England.

Other key dates include:

  • 1898 – Cut introduced after 36 holes. Those 20 or more strokes behind the leader were excluded
  • 1904 – Extended to a third day with 18 holes on each of the first two days. Cut rule unchanged
  • 1905 – Cut rule changed to exclude those 15 or more strokes behind the leader
  • 1907 – Qualifying introduced, replacing the 36-hole cut and the contest reduced again to two days
  • 1910 – Cut reintroduced instead of qualifying, play extended to 3 days again. Top 60 and ties made the cut.
  • 1911 – An increase in the no. of entries, the first 2 rounds were spread over 3 days, with 36 holes on 4th day
  • 1912 – Qualifying reintroduced to replace the cut. Contest reduced again to two days
  • 1926 – Cut reintroduced. First Open with both qualifying and a cut. Extended again to a third day with 18 holes on the first two days. Those 15 or more strokes behind the leader were excluded from the final day. Days standardised as Wednesday to Friday
  • 1929 – Cut rule changed to ensure that at least 60 made the cut even if 15 or more strokes behind the leader
  • 1937 – Cut rule changed to top 40 and ties
  • 1946 – Cut rule changed to be a maximum of 40 players. Ties for 40th place did not make the cut
  • 1951 – Cut rule changed to be a maximum of 50 players. Ties for 50th place did not make the cut
  • 1957 – Leaders after 36 holes go off last, replacing the random draw
  • 1963 – Cut rule changed to top 45 and ties
  • 1964 – Playoff reduced from 36 holes to 18, followed by sudden-death if still level
  • 1966 – Play extended to four days, 18 holes per day from Wed to Sat. Cut rule changed to top 55 and ties
  • 1971 – Cut rule changed to top 80 and ties after 36 holes and then top 60 and ties after 54 holes
  • 1973 – Play in groups of three introduced for the first two rounds
  • 1974 – Use of “bigger ball” (1.68 in, 42.67 mm) made compulsory
  • 1978 – 10-shot rule introduced so that players within 10 shots of the leader make the cut even if outside the top 80/60
  • 1980 – Play changed to Thursday to Sunday
  • 1986 – 54-hole cut discontinued. Cut rule changed to top 70 and ties after 36 holes. 4 hole playoff introduced
  • 1996 – 10-shot rule dropped

 


Royal Birkdale 2017 - The MajorsThe Majors – Present Day…

Since the inaugural championship, the tournament has gone from strength to strength and journeyed to numerous locations in the UK but surprisingly has still only been hosted by ONLY 14 venues.

However, whilst the R&A look to add new venues to the list, in 2019, the event returns to Northern Ireland at Royal Portrush Golf Club. Not part of the roster since 1951.

In 2017, The OPEN Championship will be held on the Royal Birkdale course that is located in the town of Southport, just north of Liverpool.

This is the 146th Open Championship and the 10th time it will be hosted at the Royal Birkdale.

It has hosted the men’s championship nine times, first in 1954 and most recently in July 2008.

It is scheduled to host the 2017 Open Championship.

Previous winners of the Open at Royal Birkdale ionclude: Pádraig Harrington, Mark O’Meara, Ian Baker-Finch, Tom Watson, Johnny Miller, Lee Trevino, Arnold Palmer and Peter Thomson (twice).

It hosted the women’s tournament for the sixth time in 2014, and was the site of the Senior Open Championship in 2013. Royal Birkdale has also hosted the

Royal Birkdale has also hosted the Ryder Cup (19651969), the Walker Cup (1951), and the Curtis Cup (1948).


The Majors – Making your own predictions…

With golf’s Majors generating a huge audience from around the globe (even when Tiger isn’t playing!) it creates a lot of column inches and conjecture.

So, choosing your winner is going to be difficult…I picked Danny Willet last year but didn’t place a bet!!

If you are thinking of getting in on the action this year here is some of what you need to know The Open and how best to place a bet.

Interestingly, as of November 2016, the Commission announced that online betting had overtaken localised betting in shops and casinos.

There are plenty of high street options but with smart phones now allowing us to predict winners from our armchair, it can only add to the viewing experience knowing you may get lucky.

However, before taking advantage of some of the advertised TV offers, check out the many great offers available online available e.g. Ladbrokes £50 free bet offer.

Something to consider given the additional value you can get from some of offers online gambling sites give, even providing you with the chance to bet heavier on your favourites.

Of course, like the Grand National, this may be your only bet of the year…. but who should you register with?


The Majors – How Best to Place a Bet…

Firstly, there’s never been an easier time than to place a bet but ensure you are only using a recognised bookmaker who is also regulated by the UK Gambling Commission.

Secondly, study the form…. many a bet has been wasted by not checking the recent form of the field.

A schoolboy error some would say, so also ways look for advice and help before committing to your bet.

There are plenty of pundits available via national press and on social media but we would also recommend you do your own research.


The Majors – Our favourites…

The Claret Jug - The Majors

One of the most difficult things for new betters to wrap their heads around is the fact that there will be few if any, new faces on the course because, most qualified for being previous 10 years of winners of the Open Championship and 30 from the European and PGA tours.

Then there are another 50 who are considered to be global greats who are not included in that number above so that only leaves a little over 60 golfers, many of whom are just making it to the limelight.

Some of the names we are tipping for honours for the first time or those looking to add a second or third major to their portfolio (15th in Tiger’s case!):

– Mark Fitzpatrick (New kid on the block with a win at Wentworth and Dubai in 2016)

– Andrew ‘BEEF’ Johnstone (Won Spanish Open in 2016 and a crowd favourite)

– Alex Noren (Winner at British Masters & Nedbank Challenge)

– Rory McIlroy (Tipped to be a multiple Major winner, he’s now in his prime!)

– Lee Westwood (Could he finally break his duck after numerous Top 3 finishes)

– Tiger (Yes, we still rate him and he’s got some people to prove wrong!)

But, that’s about it for our tips!


The Majors – And finally…

It’s probably now easier to bet online than ever before, so if you want to step into the world of gambling on your favourite sporting events, begin watching possible entrants as early as possible.

By the time July rolls around, you’ll be ready to place your bet and then just sit back and watch the fun.

Lastly, we always recommend betting responsibly (like the ad says, When The Fun Stops, STOP!) but equally, when played properly, there’s a real incentive to bet online, for sure!

#havefun


By Ian Mullins