It's the return of Virtual Insanity, where we spend virtual money to try and win virtual money on golf betting. It's that simple!
I have been betting on golf since 1997 when I had €5 each way on Davis Love III to win the US PGA Championship at 33/1. He won and I bought cream cakes for everyone in the AIB in London.
I honestly believe that one can make money from golf betting. What happened to me was that I took it seriously in my mid-twenties, but ultimately my day job in broadcasting was far more serious, so I concentrated fully on that instead.
There were many years spent as a part-time tipster on the Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show, and we predicted some big priced winners along the way. I even wrote a book on my exploits, called 'Beat the Bookies', published in 2011.
So at the start of the year for OTB Sports, I came up with this concept of putting €1000 in virtual money aside to see if I could make a profit tipping on golf over time. To see if it was more rewarding than throwing €1000 in a bank and just letting it slowly gather interest in a safe, but boring manner. Would this method deliver a better return?
I conducted an analysis of nine tournaments until March and I felt I kept hitting the crossbar. I lost €115 of virtual money! Then the pandemic intervened and it's only now that I am getting back into watching golf on a regular basis. So until the end of the year, we will see how we go with a view to hitting the ground running in 2021.
The pot is at €885 entering this week's tournament of focus, the BMW Championship on the US PGA Tour in Illinois.
A side note. This tournament is played at a course called Olympia Fields, and when I turned the page of the Racing Post and saw the venue, it brought back memories from 17 years ago.
Jim Furyk won the last PGA Tour event staged there in 2003. The U.S. Open. A major. I know because I was having this unbelievable winning streak at the time. I had amassed significant funds through betting and I really fancied Furyk. I placed €500 on him at 33/1, ten times the size of the Davis Love wager six years before. This was part of an investment of €3000 in the 2003 U.S. Open. Furyk won easily and a cheque arrived for €17,500 from Paddy Power a week later, a profit of €14,500. My Dad had died the previous November and the day of the final round was Father's Day. I remember when Furyk clinched it that I felt an emptiness. The money didn't matter. It certainly didn't buy happiness against a backdrop of grief. If it happened now, I know I would celebrate it more.
If you are having an interest in the BMW Championship, be sure to shop around, with bookmakers such as Paddy Power and Betfair offering 1/5 the odds each way for your selection to get into the top 7.
You'll need to place your bets by Thursday afternoon.
This is a course that requires a golfer to keep the ball in play. It's a par 70 and what one would call a 'fairways and greens' track with thick rough.
Our first selection is Xander Schauffele for €4 each way at 14/1. (1/5 the odds the first 7 places).
This is a tough golf course and American Xander Schauffele has proven in his short career on the PGA Tour that he can play well in difficult conditions. The four-time tour winner is ranked 10th in the world and has finished in the top 25 in his last six tournaments since the circuit returned to some semblance of normality. This is a U.S. Open-style course. Schauffele has played three U.S. Opens and finished Tied fifth, Tied sixth and Tied third in them. Bursting through to take the Tour Championship in 2017 put Schauffele on the map. He is solid in all aspects of the game and another win is probably overdue.
Our second selection is Kevin Kisner for €2 each way at 35/1. (1/5 the odds the first 7 places).
I really like American Kevin Kisner, while wondering if he can ever make the leap from a very solid player into a major winner. He is accurate off the tee and can get hot on the greens. He contended for the Open Championship at Carnoustie and he's won the World Matchplay Championship. I think Olympia Fields will suit him and he's in red hot form, off the back of a Tied third finish at the Wyndham Championship and a Tied fourth placing at the Northern Trust this month.
Our third selection is Louis Oosthuizen for €2 each way at 60/1. (1/5 the odds the first 7 places).
It's staggering that South African Louis Oosthuizen, who may have the best swing in golf, who won the Open Championship at the home of golf, St Andrews, and who has finished second in all four majors, only has the Open as a PGA Tour win to his name. That has to change! He's playing well, with a Top 10 finish at the St Jude Invitational and a Top 15 finish last week at the Northern Trust.
Our final selection this week is Jason Kokrak for €2 each way at 70/1. (1/5 the odds the first 7 places).
Like Indiana Jones, American Kokrak squeezed under the door to make this field this week courtesy of a strong finish at the Northern Trust. He's never won on the PGA Tour, but he's been trending in the right direction for quite a while now, posting 14 top 25's last season. A big hitter, he's back in form again. He could be a lively outsider.
So that's €20 virtually wagered on this week's golf.
Please gamble responsibly, never bet more than you can afford, and good luck!