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20 years of betting memories - part 2 - golf

It has actually been very tricky to think of my favourite memories over the past 20 years but it has revealed something stark to me, in days gone by I found it “easier” to find value before the start compared to now. I guess in the past there weren’t so many odds comparison sites, there were more odds compilers who had a variety of opinion compared to now when prices are more or less identical amongst all bookmakers and finding value is therefore harder. With the advent of extra places outright win prices have been compressed, and these days I seem to find more value in running. I have only once backed two winners in the same week and it’s something that will probably never happen again apart from maybe on the supporting tours. It was mid February 2006 and the European Tour was playing the Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia and Kevin Stadler won @ 125/1. At the same time on the PGA Tour the AT&T at Pebble Beach was taking place and I had tipped up Oberholser @ 50/1 who also obliged. Did I have the double? Did I heck – then again over 20 years if I had done doubles I would have lost a small fortune. Talking of the Pro-Am February jolly one of my favourite winning bets was DA Points @ 100/1 in 2011 – it was a decent punt due to course form but also keeping an eye on the amateur pairings. Points was paired with his “idol” Bill Murray and inspired him to his win, Murray is a love him or loathe him type of character and I definitely fall into the latter category but for that week only I was rather fond of him. The year 2006 was obviously a very good year and the HSBC at Sheshan led to what at the time was my biggest ever win and revolved around a player who will appear twice – YE Yang. He was a relative unknown at the time but had won recently in South Korea and Japan and was priced as a no hoper. From memory Stan James opened about 150/1 and I probably had around £25 e/w on but was astonished to wake up the following morning to find the Australian books were 350/1. Back then I could play with Sportstab and they allowed me $40AU e/w at that price, that was the end of that account, but clearly shows how much prices varied around the globe in those days. Skip forward a couple of years to the PGA Championship at Hazeltine in 2009 and Yang crops up again but not just because of the bet. He was an outsider even though he had won earlier in the year at PGA National and was always a big price in running and he eventually took down Tiger Woods. That taught me a good lesson, well known players tend to be underpriced in running and names that are not instantly recognisable overpriced. The thing I remember happened about half an hour after all the interviews had concluded and you have to remember Twitter was not really that big a thing. Nowadays some players engage with the general public which is great but back then I was surprised to hear back from Yang. I had simply sent a tweet to him saying congratulations and thanks to him I had won a fair bit of money. The reply was almost instant, no doubt with one hand on the Wanamaker Trophy and the other on his phone, there were a few replies but the first one was “Thanks, and that’s great, I didn’t even know you could bet on golf”. I guess my favourite story has to be from 2008 the US Open from Torrey Pines and what I termed “The Battle of Wounded Knee”, it is still sort of the one that got away but also to this day my biggest win on a single golfer (I’m not billy big balls!). I have to set the scene, as per usual all bets were struck on Monday and Tuesday but they had to be this week because I was off on holiday to the Isles of Scilly. There would be no laptop (pointless as no WiFi) and I didn’t have a mobile phone but I did have Ceefax! I had backed Rocco Mediate in loads of markets and he was a massive price in all of them, outright, outright without Tiger, Top American with and without Tiger. With Rocco in contention on the Saturday I paid my few quid to use the one computer at the Tourist Board office putting up a series of lays on Rocco. Sunday he was still there so did the same again, whilst everyone else had gone to bed I sat there til about 3 am watching Ceefax ticking over, it was painful and even more painful when I had to do it all over again on the Monday for an 18 hole playoff. Tiger somehow won on one leg and I still haven’t watched it to this day. I couldn’t complain the eventual win was around £14k, it would have been substantially more if Rocco had won, but the irony has always been that my biggest win came when my player “lost”. PS – I lost my Paddy Power account that week

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