The Back 9: Hunter bags wins from matchups

Feb 4, 2003 8:24 AM

A followup to our "Betting golf matchups to win" article of several weeks back.

When the column appeared with the large mug of K.C. Choi, we expected some feedback about the size of the photo and why so much space was devoted to the subject itself. Instead, as hoped, the piece touched a nerve with several wiseguys who have made a living at beating the house on individual golf matchups.

For purposes of protecting his identity we will refer to one such expert as R. Hunter. An investigator and one-time contributing writer to the Associated Press, Hunter wrote about news-related subjects that placed both himself and his family in danger. Golf, however, is his passion. And as far as we know, no Vegas book is ready to ban him from the premises.

At least, not yet.

"I invested thousands to come up with a formula of six ways to winning at golf matchups," said Hunter, who has resided in Las Vegas since 1999. "I am just picking one man against another. It’s so much easier to make money this way than to pick one out of 140 to win a golf tournament."

Hunter operates a news and sports group across seven Western states with plans to go national if enough people discover him. That’s his job. Ours is to find methods for bettors to make money and help the house promote sports that will bring customers into the books and make wagers.

"I am a scratch golfer who won a club championship at age 22 and could have gone on the PGA Tour had I not been diverted to political causes," Hunter said. "My group gathers information for prospective clients, but there are no hard sells. Anyone can read the material and is welcome to apply. PGA matchup wagering is the best bet on the board."

Hunter was 5-0 through the Tour’s first four events, including his John Huston pick over Chris McCarron at the Bob Hope Chrysler Pro-Am.

"We send out a client portfolio and treat our potential customers with the courtesy that the game of golf is centered around," Hunter said. "There is no hard selling. We are not going to press you. It’s not in my character to ask for money. You read the material and are welcome to apply."

Hunter said he was surprised by the initial GamingToday article, which revealed that many sports books avoid posting golf matchups because they believe the risk of losing money is too great.

"I was stunned because the casinos have the odds in their favor on every sport that handicappers are hired for," Hunter said. "No handicapper can spend the kind of money I did on every sport they handicap year round."

Sports book, such as the Rampart, feel there isn’t the betting interest in golf to warrant spending the necessary hours to research individual matchups on a weekly basis.

"I know that the Masters will do well for us, but until then we probably won’t be dealing too much in golf," Eric St. Clair, Rampart race and sports manager, told GamingToday in the Jan.14-20 issue.

In the meantime, Hunter continues to research the sport for "the silent majority." He is still providing matchups for his customers, and produce winners for any book in Vegas or offshore that list the weekly tourneys. The Palms, for example, is very active in posting individual matchups.

"Again, I am just trying to put out the word that there are ways of winning by wagering on golf," Hunter said. "I am living proof."

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UPON FURTHER REVIEW: Our apologies and congrats to Excalibur’s Tom McHugh for his 8-3 postseason NFL record to share the Bookies Battle top mark with Harrah’s Jack Frost...Also, the Phillies have one year left at the Vet before moving into their new baseball stadium in 2004. Wishful thinking.