Open Golf stats

17/07/2013 | By | Reply More

Fair weather greets us for the Open this year, that’s unusual! But this may make the course a little less random this year.

Therefore, from a trading perspective, I’m less inclined to find a big priced winner this year. Links golf on a difficult course can be notoriously difficult, but when the weather is sweet and the wind calm, skill comes more to the forefront.

Winning a major requires a bit of luck however and also requires a very different approach to a standard tournament. So I’ve been looking closely at some candidates. Because the Open shifts venues and the set up varies over time it’s difficult to read anything into each tournament, but the Open is always played on a links course and that gives us some clues.

If you look at the top ten finishes in the Open it hints at players who can play links golf and put themselves in contention at the open. Therefore I’ve looked at how players have competed in four or more championships and their top 10 percentage.

Top ten finishers

Ernie Els is the master as he has competed in 16 tournaments and finished in the top ten on 10 occasions, of course he won it last year. But the two years prior he was cut. Then comes Tiger with 8/14 or 57% of tournaments ending in a top ten finish.

Dustin Johnson appears at #3 on the basis of 2/4, so that may not be representative. But we then see a list of possible contenders. Sergio Garcia 46%, Thomas Bjorn 35%, Jim Furyk 31% then the fading Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington. Though you may want to discount them on the lack of form. Lee Westwood makes an appearance with 25% of Open tournaments ending in the top ten.

Others of note: –

Ian Poulter 16%
Louis Oosthizen 16%
Luke Donald 16%
Adam Scott 15%
Angel Cabrera 14%
Phil Mickleson 13%

Of course you have plenty others with low appearances and good finishes but it’s difficult to read much into that, but McIlroy shows only one top ten in five, as does Martin Kaymer. Paul Lawries’ only top ten was when he won it in that famous Van De Velde battle.

If you look at the average finish position of a player over the last ten years, excluding appearances under 4, it reads from the top as Woods, Els, D.Johnson, Garcia, McIlory, Watney.

US Open champion / hero of English golf, Justin Rose, has only finished in the top ten once, we all remember that, and has an average finish of just 54.

Current Form

So let’s forget the historics and look at current form at the majors. Rose tops the list and would do so by a massive margin if he wasn’t cut from the Open last year. But his form line shows Win, T25, T3 so that’s strong. Ernie Els isn’t far behind at all with T4, T13, T48, Win. Lee Westwood is ranked 20th in current form in the majors.

The next ten read Scott, Day, Woods, Dufner, Donald, Stricker, Snedeker, Mickleson, Poulter, McIlroy, Mahan.

Despite liking Manassero and tipping him for a major in a previous post, he hasn’t performed well in the big four and has been cut at the last three. Obviously on the rise and plenty of years ahead of him but too early for this it seems?

How it will play

With such good weather recently the ground is likely to be bone dry and it’s likely a lot of players may not hit a wood once for fear of over hitting it. During practice several players ended up very long on a lot of shots. So it will be all about the iron play and shaping of shots. With a bit of luck we should see some good golf this week. You would imagine the scores and cut being lower than average depending on the exact set up.

I imagine from a trading perspective there will be less opportunities than in previous years, but some of that depends on the early scoring. So, as mentioned before, I’m not looking for a big priced winner.


I tend to not focus on who will win, because that’s an incredibly hard thing to do. But I pick through players that I think will be in contention or big movers at some point in the tournament and then Dutch them. Out of that group you very often find somebody who performs well and shortens up significantly which will most likely generate a profit if you are trading and possibly produce a profit outright anyhow. It’s a strategy that has worked well over a number of years.

Good Luck!

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Category: Golf, Trading strategies

About the Author ()

I left a good job in the consumer technology industry to go a trade on Betfair for a living way back in June 2000. I've been here ever since pushing very boundaries of what's possible on betting exchanges and loved every minute of it.

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