As bettors who follow the PGA Tour know, pro golf tournaments are held every year in every corner of the United States. There is even one held annually in Canada. At some points in the season the tournaments are clustered in some parts of the country – like the Hawaii and California swings early in the season. Other times, though, the tournaments move locations dramatically from week to week. The location of a tournament each week is an important factor in the handicapping of that tournament. Here’s a look at eight factors for PGA bettors to consider when looking at the location of a PGA tournament:
Weather – The location of the golf tournament – both in the country, and on the calendar – can have a big impact on the way a tournament plays out. There are the obvious reasons – it’s harder for players to get feel in cold weather, rain softens the fairways and greens, heat can challenge stamina, and so on. Beyond that, though, there are two big factors here – especially if you are betting on the winner of the tournament. The first is stability – is the weather in the morning of the first day likely to be similar to the weather on the afternoon of the last day? Is the morning weather likely to be like the afternoon weather? The more stable the weather is, the less of a factor it will have on the outcome of the tournament. Second, what is the worst case scenario? Weather in Florida or Georgia has the potential to get much worse than weather in Arizona, so you have to be more concerned about the potential impact of the weather.
Wind factors – Wind can be a nightmare for golfers and for those betting on them. There are a couple of factors to consider here as well. The first is consistency. If the wind is always going to be a factor, and that factor is relatively consistent, then all guys will face the same thing and it’s not a big issue. If different golfers will face different wind conditions, though, then it is much harder to handicap. Second, the strength of the wind is also a concern. If the win is strong, and is always a factor on holes, then guys who can shape their shots and play under the wind are going to have an advantage. If the wind isn’t significant, though, or if the course is well protected, then it’s likely not worth worrying about.
Humidity – Humidity, or the lack of it, can have a big impact in at least two ways. First, high humidity can have a big impact on the stamina of golfers. That can hit older players or those that are out of shape hard, and can be harder for guys who aren’t used to humidity. More significantly, the ball doesn’t travel as far in high humidity, so big hitters can have an edge when it is particularly dry that they won’t enjoy on muggy days.
Altitude – Balls fly further in higher altitudes, so this is another way that big hitters can gain an edge. If the altitude is particularly extreme – like if the tournament is in Denver, for example – then stamina could be a factor for guys who are used to performing and living at sea level.
Type of grass – Different parts of the country use different types of grass on their courses based on climate, growing season, water availability, and so on. Different grasses react differently for golfers. There are two places in particular to look at – the thickness of the rough and how unwelcoming they are, and the speed of the greens.
Fan support – Is the crowd going to be big or relatively small? Will it be knowledgeable or not? Will the crowd be respectful and quiet or rowdy? Can the fans get close to the course, or are they removed from the players? Bettors need to consider these questions.
Travel between tournaments – Not all golfers in the field will have played the week before, and not all of those players that did will have played on Sunday. For the players that did, though, it can be a scramble to get to the new course in time for the pro-am and some practice rounds. That can be easier to do when the tournaments are closer together, but very difficult if the distance is a big factor. At the extreme, for example, the tournament that follows the British Open features absolutely brutal travel issues that can be a factor. At times that tournament has been as far away as Vancouver, so the travel is a particular issue.
Player comfort – On an individual level, the location of a PGA tournament can have a big impact on players and also on bettors. A player is going to be more comfortable on a course he knows well, in a climate he is comfortable in, in conditions he likes, in front of friendly fans, and so on.