THE so-called ‘Greatest Show on Grass’ takes centre stage this week, with world No 1 Scottie Scheffler bidding for a hat-trick of victories at the Phoenix Open.
The boozy and raucous event at Scottsdale in Arizona regularly attracts the biggest crowds of any PGA Tour stop, with many of them packed around the famous par 3 16th, ready to cheer or jeer the world’s finest golfers.
It is an environment Scheffler has thrived in. He claimed his first Tour win here in 2022 – and went on a tear that led to him winning the Masters that year – and successfully defended the title 12 months ago.
So he certainly deserves his status as the clear 5-1 favourite for the “three-peat”.
But apart from his victory in The Players last year – and a win over a small field at the Heo Challenge – Scheffler has flattered to deceive on too many occasions in the past year to be considered a sure thing.
Because he dominates the market, there are plenty of tempting each way alternatives on offer here – and across the state line in Nevada, where the LIV circus takes up residence in the bright lights of Las Vegas.
How to bet on golf
Here are five easy steps for beginners.
1. Choose Your Favourite Sportsbook – there are plenty to choose from and most have their own app or mobile site.
2. Make a Deposit – each sportsbook will walk you through how to connect your bank account to their system including providing a list of all the safeguards they have set up to ensure the safety of your transactions.
3. Claim Your Bonuses – most sportsbooks offers bonuses to first time bettors in the form of free bets.
4. Place Your Bet – now it’s time to navigate through your sportsbook’s odds where they will offer a variety of options including outright winners, or top finishing positions, such as top 10 or 20, or even to make the cut. For the event this week each way odds are generally paid on the top eight players.
5. Collect Your Winnings – If you’re successful you will be able to withdraw your winnings once the bet is complete. Some bookmakers offer cashout options on certain bets as well, which is worth keeping an eye on.
Where to find the best odds for the golf?
Lots of bookmakers have different options for betting on the golf this week, including competitive odds and different place markets.
We like the markets on bet365, including the price boosts on offer pre-event.
This week you can get favourite Scheffler at 17/2 each way for an extra three places or Justin Thomas at 18/1.
Phoenix Open tips
Scheffler’s two wins at Scottsdale have come on the back of stellar putting performances – not an area of the game you would normally regard as one of his great strengths.
You could say the same thing about Justin Thomas, but the 10-1 second favourite is the player who catches my eye.
The struggles that made the double Major champion a doubtful starter for the USA Ryder Cup team seem to be behind him. He has not finished outside the top six in any of his last five starts, with a couple of third places thrown in.
The former world No1 is back in the top twenty, and it seems the only way is up. Thomas has finished fourth and eighth in his last two visits to Arizona, and is capable of doing a lot better than that.
Someone who does excel with the putter is South Africa’s Christiann Bezuidenhout, and at 100-1 he has to be worth an each way interest.
Bezuidenhout is another in-form player, with a second, a third, and two other top tens in his last six starts. A share of 20th in the weather-shortened Pebble Beach Pro-Am was not too shabby either, but it has pushed his odds out to an attractive mark.
Wyndham Clark, who took the honours at Pebble Beach with a stunning third round 60, is 33-1 to follow up. That is tempting too, as the US Open champion is a streaky player, one you want on your side when he is blowing hot.
Last year’s runner-up, Nick Taylor, also looks over-priced at a best-priced 150-1. Missed cuts in his last two starts are a concern, but he was seventh at The Sentry before that, and comes into the equation here on the horses for courses theory.
One other outsider worth a mention is Kevin Yu. The Taiwan golfer has made his home in Scottsdale, and knows the course as well as anyone.
He was denied a start here last year when he damaged knee ligaments in the build-up and had to undergo surgery. Third place at the Amex and a share of sixth at the Farmers – plus his course knowledge – makes his 80-1 odds pretty appealing.
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LIV Las Vegas tips
Jon Rahm was a warm order to make a winning start to his LIV career last week, before finishing a close third to Joaquin Niemann. He is a hot favourite to make amends in Vegas.
The fearless punters based along the Strip have been backing him all week, and you will be lucky to find anything better than 4-1 about the current Masters champion.
But as with Scheffler, that is too short for me. I would prefer to take a punt on the man who shared third with him in Mexico, behind Niemann and Sergio Garcia – 25-1 shot Dean Burmester.
It is not as if Burmester’s excellent performance at Mayakoba came out of the blue.
He won twice during the DP World Tour’s South African swing at the end of 2023, and is clearly a lot less rusty than most of his fellow LIV golfers.
Tyrrell Hatton is also ‘match fit’ after playing in the States and Dubai before making his LIV debut. He took a bit of time to find his feet in Mexico, but finished strongly with a closing 64 to claim a share of eighth.
A slight improvement will make him a decent each way proposition at 14-1 – most bookmakers are paying six places – and he will be targeting the $4million top prize, to supplement his £50million signing on fee.
The best of the outsiders could be another LIV newcomer, Lucas Herbert. The 60-1 shot is a former Dubai Desert Classic winner, and that sort of form looks pretty good in this company.
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