From UNLV golf to heartbreak at the British Open

Jul 24, 2012 3:00 AM

Adam Scott belongs as much to the successful history of UNLV’s golf program as to his native Australia. So to see him blow a four-shot lead with four holes to play at the British Open last Sunday was all the more painful, particularly at pre-tourney odds of 40-1.

It wasn’t quite “Van de Velde” in the history of Open collapses, but bad enough. As for Ernie Els, also 40-1 pre-tourney (LVH), the Hall of Fame golfer from South Africa is officially back. And the world of golf is far better for that.

According to RJ Bell of, Els was 25-1 entering Sunday when he was six shots out of the lead set by Scott. At Adam’s highest point (10-under after a birdie on 14 and 4-up on the field) you had to risk $70 to win $1 if choosing to board the bandwagon. 

Scott’s chances of winning thru 14: 98.6%.

Meanwhile had you stuck with Ernie (which few bettors in Vegas probably did), his lowest point for a second British Open title was 469-1. In other words, a $70 wager (there was one)  paid off $32,830.

While the always classy Els thanked everyone from his caddy and psychologist to Nelson Mandela, Scott will unfortunately have to answer the detractors who will label him “a choker.” It’s neither fair nor accurate to single him out, but that’s the cruelty of golf and the nature of the classic bad beat in sports wagering.

For me, my psyche master is Yogi as in Berra and his famed, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

Is it over for Tiger? I believe Ernie’s victory after nearly a decade of frustration would answer that question.

Woods was the 8-1 favorite last Thursday and played like it, though using a conservative approach far different than the Tiger we used to know and marvel. This Tiger model, while still compelling and in the mix when it really counts, just can’t seem to ride better than the one with 14 majors prior to 2009.

Graeme McDowell, a “major” winner, was in the final group with Scott and at 30-1 gave his backers reason for hope until falling back on the final nine at Royal Lytham.

Brandt Snedeker, the 36-hole leader at 10-under and no bogeys, would have paid huge at 150-1. But the pride of Tennessee lost the tourney on Saturday and was always on the outside looking in Sunday.

Luke Donald, the world’s No. 1 in stats only, finished strong but was never in contention despite low 15-1 odds. Phil Mickelson (25-1) should have never made the trip. Tiger will get the heat for another “majors” miss, but Lefty was a “virtual” golfer. He blew up and missed the cut by a British country mile.

So we have one major left in the golf season, the PGA Championship Aug. 9-12 on the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, S.C. – a hybrid club away from historic Charleston. The Ocean Course is a par 72, measuring 7,356 yards and received its coming out party as host of the 1991 Ryder Cup.

There have now been 17 different majors champions since Padraig Harrington won the British Open and PGA in 2008. Woods, a 7-1 favorite at LVH for the PGA, needs to come out from his conservative shell and show more driver and less irons from the tee.

It would be nice to see if on the event’s eve money comes in on Adam at 25-1. Els opened at 40-1.