Every year in January golf bettors see the dawn of a new season in the PGA. That means that every January a large group of new golfers join the tour. Most of those new players are obscure when they join the tour, and still obscure when they leave the tour a year or two later. Some of those guys, though, will break through. That might mean that they’ll win as a rookie, or that they will consistently perform well and will be useful in prop bets. It could be that they’ll quietly improve as a rookie before really starting to shine in their second year. Whatever the case, though, the point is this – it is worth the time for serious bettors to get to know who the new players are so they can make an educated guess regarding whether the player can be a legitimate contender early in their first season, or if they can safely be overlooked in your golf betting selections. Here are six questions for golf bettors to ask to determine which category new players fit into:
Where has he been playing before? – The PGA Tour is by far the best golf tour in the world, so no matter what someone who is new to the tour has been playing somewhere that isn’t as tough as what he is now wading into. Some tours would be better preparation for the PGA than others, though. The European Tour is the next best, and the level isn’t that far behind the PGA in a lot of ways. The Nationwide Tour would be a better preparation than the Canadian Tour, and so on. The higher the level he has played at, and the more success he has had at that level, the easier his transition will likely be. That doesn’t mean that a guy who qualified out of an obscure tour or straight out of college couldn’t be competitive right away in the PGA. It just wouldn’t be as likely because he would have more to adjust to in terms of crowds, the level of competition, working consistently with the same caddie, and generally playing golf at a high level.
How much PGA experience do he have? – Most players who are joining the PGA Tour as a regular for the first time have played in a PGA event at some point. They might have qualified early in the week for an event, earned a sponsor’s exemption, or qualified as an amateur. The PGA is like no other – the crowds, the pressure of the money, the spectacle of playing alongside the biggest stars in the game. The more experience a golfer has playing in the PGA, the easier the transition is likely to be in the short term. When a guy has played in the PGA before you can also gain a simple sense of how well they handled the pressure and where they measured up.
What is his recent form? – If the golfer qualified through Q school then he has been playing very well reasonably recently. Whether he came that path or another, though, you can be sure that he has likely been playing relatively recently to try to get as sharp as he can for his debut. How well did he play in his most recent tournaments? Was he playing his best, or was his game on a decline after a previous high? Is he a streaky player, or has he consistently been playing at a high level for quite a while?
What is his style of play? – Until a golfer plays several events in the PGA most of the public isn’t going to have a very good sense of how he plays and what kind of courses best suit him. That means that bettors can gain a good edge by getting to know what they are good at and what they aren’t before they tee off in the big leagues for the first time. That way you’ll have a sense of whether the early courses suit them well or whether they will have to overcome an unfavorable course along with everything else they have to overcome.
Is there any buzz around him? – Some golfers will come onto tour with a lot of attention and excitement from the media. They will show up on lists of players to watch, and articles will be written about them. Others will join the tour in total anonymity. Few will know anything about them, and fewer will care. The more anonymous a golfer is the less the public will know about them, and the less betting attention they will get. That can be a very good thing if you do your homework and find out that the guy might deserve more attention than he has been getting.
How strong is the field? – The weaker a field is the easier it will be for a new golfer to make a breakthrough early on. In early season tournaments it’s quite possible for a field to be very weak, or at least lacking in the big name stars that get the most attention from bettors and the media.