Betting on Golf: Becoming Hugely Popular Worldwide

Written by:
Don Shapiro
Published on:

There was a time when odds makers would question why betting on golf was so "unpopular" when compared with most of the other major sports wagering activity.

Today things have changed dramatically. Betting on golf has become one of's most covered pastimes.   How much of this has to do with the Tiger Woods phenomenon is not quite known. 

"It's significant for us," explains Operations Manager, who has been busy around the clock ensuring that odds on upcoming golf events are properly monitored. "The major tournaments now are among the most bet on. During the summer months, golf betting is perhaps the most lucrative for our sponsors, more so than baseball."

The British Open in fact is the single most bet on event in all of Great Britain.

"The United Kingdom is's third largest readership market after the US and Canada," O'Brien conveyed. "Last weekend (when the British Open took place), the most readers came from the UK."

And record breaking traffic was recorded from the days leading up to the event right through to the end when Ireland's Padraig Harrington was announced the winner for a second year straight.

"His win cost the Irish bookmakers dearly."

How dearly?

From the Belfast Telegraph:

Success for Harrington at Royal Birkdale hit the Irish bookies hard with the firms paying out around £4m and Boylesports having to return half a million in cashback after their offer of a return of stake on losing singles if either Sergio Garcia or Harrington won.

However, it could have been worse for the industry. Many firms swerved the winner after his injury scare which saw Harrington's price drift alarmingly.

A Ladbroke's spokesman said, "We couldn't lay him at 20s, 25s or even 33-1.

Betfair had him at 70-1 just before the start and after he bogeyed the first, he was available at 150-1.

That's a US$15,000 payout for anyone who had Padraig Harrington at 150-1 odds betting $100.

And it's not just the Majors that has growing appeal with gamblers.

This weekend's Canadian Open drew some surprise interest with odds being offered at Sportingbet's Canadian arm which was offering a 20 percent signup bonus on first deposits and a free $50 CDN Bet when placing a $50 CDN Bet.

"It wasn't gangbusters but it there was interest to be certain," O'Brien said.

Sportingbet was also offering wagering on the Senior Open Championship with Bernhard Langer the 11/4 favorite and Tom Watson listed with 4/1 odds.

Golf betting, especially with futures, can provide a lucrative alternative to the usual summer doldrums. Just ask all those punters who won big on Padraig last weekend.


Don Shapiro,

Originally published July 25, 2008 9:02 pm EST

Sports News