The PGA Championship betting preview

So then, here we are for one last final hurrah. ‘Glory’s last shot’ (or now what they laboriously call ‘The Seasons Final Major’

The PGA Championship 2014 provides that final opportunity for all the worlds best to grab hold of a major, whilst this year it is the start of that final push for Ryder Cup qualifications, for those eligible 😉

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So then, this sets up to be a cracker, a few big names all playing seriously well, this has the potential to be a beaut of a final major for 2014! But who will win, Mcilroy is looking unmovable as the World number one whilst Sergio is ‘serging’ forward to a great year in 2014. Apologies for the pun!

Well, Valhalla. That name just sounds so cool doesnt it? Yeah, yeah anyway… The par 71 course will play at 7,458 yards – a remarkable 295 yards longer than Oak Hill last year and a couple of hundred more since Valhalla last hosted a major event – the 2011 Senior PGA Championship.

Valhalla is very much risk and reward, every winner since 2004 has averaged 290+ yards on Tour before their PGA victory (barring Jason Dufner last year!) But it’s not all about the length, ohhhh no! ther’s more to Valhalla than just smashing your tee ball– this war will require bravery yes, but a strategic battle-plan will, without doubt, provide us with the winner.

The tips you ask? Well, lets get to it.

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SERGIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

The 1999 PGA Championship was the scene of Sergio Garcia’s arrival, a much more hot-headed character to the one we see today. It’s a tournament that has also seen him finish 2nd, back in 2008. With his newfound putting ability and love for the ‘claw grip’, Sergio has the perfect armory to attack Valhalla. Sergio has been is superb form lately, with a great display at the open and the wGC last week, he’s in touching distance of Mcilroy and it seems he’s got some good form at the right time.

Matt Kuchar, like Serge, he’s not far away, both of them are more than capable of winning a major, is it just a matter of time?

Rory. Enough said, he’s on flames at the moment and if he plays like he has been doing there is very little anybody else can do about it.

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Mahan, to me Hunter Mahan is one of the best American golfers on tour. His sweet ball striking, matched with consistency off the tee could help Hunter battle his way through Valhalla.

A bit of Aussie grit? Yeah Scotty should be up there as per, but we are talking Marc Leishman! 6 top 10s which include a 3rd last week at the WGC, T5 at The Open, T8 at the Quicken Loans National and T2 at Farmers Insurance Open, a few good ffinishes at tricky courses show he could be a contender for the final major!

Sooooooooooooooo the stage is set, the final major, lets see whatcha got Valhalla!

Thanks again!

Tiger beating the odds!

As another major is just a stone throw away a question posed by many (including myself) Why is Tiger Woods always one of the betting favourites…. even when he’s not playing very well?

Tiger Woods of the United States gestures to a fan to be quiet from the fifth green during first round play at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational golf tournament in Akron

Despite his poor play so far this season, Tiger, at 15-1, is second only to Rory McIlroy in terms of having the best odds to win the PGA Championship. He hovered around the same odds for last month’s British Open (I don’t have to tell you he didn’t win that one) and the U.S. Open at Pinehurst — an event he seemed to have no chance of even playing in after his March 31 back surgery. So, why is that the case?

The answer has to do with incentives. Bookmakers do factor in things like recent form when they set odds, but mostly they’re just trying to set prices that will entice people into placing a bet.

The general public tends to bet off its basic knowledge, so people who know Tiger won a lot in the past will typically bet on him no matter what. Meanwhile, a guy like Jimmy Walker who is putting together a much better season, but casual golf fans aren’t as familiar with Walker as they are with Woods.

To get more bets flowing in on a guy like Walker, bookmakers need to grab people’s attention with the prospect of a bigger payoff. That’s why Walker is 50-1 to win the PGA Championship despite already winning three times this season, and Tiger is 15-1.

Yep, so all in all… I still don’t get it haha!

The Open, Royal Liverpool Betting Preview

Hello! Sorry it’s been a while, the weather has been BEAUUUTIFUL up North, which if you are from England will know this doesn’t happen all too often. This weather only means one thing, evening rounds of golf after work YES!!!

Anyway, its Open week, actually there’s only a day to go so let’s get to it!

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I love the Open, I’ve been the past few years and we’ve made it a tradition ever since. We’re off to Hoylake on Sunday for the final round and I cannot wait! I think this year more than ever it is completely wide open.

Rose, Mcilroy, Mcdowell are all in with a shout along with half the field, annnnnnnnd Tigers back! Tiger coming back is always good for golf and of course adds a little more excitement to the competition. Whether you are a player or a spectator, you want Tiger there over the weekend!

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So my tips, take these with a pinch of salt as I really can’t call this one!

The actual course is a 7,312 yard par 72 with 4 par 5s that are so vital to finding a winner – The last time it was held at Hoylake in 2006, Tiger shot a remarkable -14 on those 16 trips to the longer holes and it was a big contribution to his -18 total that won him the trophy by 2 shots from Chris DiMarco.

His game plan? Tee to green master class.  With the weather in everyone’s favour he found 85.71% of fairways (1st in Driving Accuracy for the week) and 80.56% of GIR (1st for GIR.)

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You are going to need a solid and accurate game from tee to green in order to win any Open Championship.  If you do find the hay then it is just as important how you recover, therefore scramblers always seem to do well.

Justin Rose, coming off a win up in Scotland Rose’s game seems in fine form ready for Hoylake, is it his time to lift the claret jug?

G-Mac The French open saw Mcdowell as he ground his way to another European title. His all round game suits Hoylake, getting up and down is what he does best, he’s a grinder, this sets up for him very nicely.

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Rickie Fowler, we have been raving about Rickie all year, we can’t stop now, he has to win at some point right?

Webb Simpson, you will NOT win the Open without a good putting stroke. Actually you won’t win a lot without a good putting stroke, luckily this man has one of the best putters in the game! 2 top 3 finishes in his last 4 will also fill the American with confidence.

Zach Johnson, again another contender, 2nd last week at the John Deere, his short game is impeccable, I think he will contend for a top spot as he picks apart Royal Liverpool.

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There’s so many to pick from this week, it really is tough to call, outsiders for me are,

Shane Lowry, we saw enough of him at the Scottish Open to suggest he could be in for a career defining week, a game suited to the links courses with both of his wins coming from the coastal ranks. Shane is arguably playing some of the best golf of his career right now.

Danny Willet’s game is right there at the moment, being an Englishman he will feel right at home on Hoylake and with a decent showing at Scotland he could be a real outsider..Could be.

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Do you guys have any tips? Or have you been to Hoylake before and have any course tips, where to go, stand, which grandstands to go to etc, get in touch and let us know, otherwise enjoy the golf!

That’s all for now folks, thanks again!

I’ll have  couple of course reviews coming up soon and lots more to come, stay tuned. As always if you enjoy my Ramblings you can follow me on twitter @shaun_lloyd4.

World Cup Ambushed!

I don’t know if you have noticed but the World Cup has been occupying most of the television the last few weeks, im not complaining, football on TV every day is how it should be, since coming home and watching nothing but football for the past few weeks something stood out for me…sponsors.

Now take a minute and think of brands you have seen over the World Cup, name 3 or 4? Bet there not the official sponsors, this is ambush marketing at its finest.

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Before I explain, Nike are the masters of this technique! Paddy power are too!

Ambush marketing is a marketing strategy wherein the advertisers associate themselves with, and therefore capitalize on, a particular event without paying any sponsorship fee which in this case would be extortionate.

I studied this at University where consumers are drawn to brands that don’t pay the extraordinary fees others do to get brand awareness; it’s a technique not many can truely master!

Going back to my question, brands I think of from the World Cup are; Fosters, Nike, and Beats by Dre, now none of these are actual sponsors of the World Cup!

The actual sponsors are: Coca- Cola, adidas, Budweiser, Sony, Visa, McDonalds, Kia, Emirates, Continental to name a few.

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So what does the research say?

The research project involved the business asking members of its real-time panels in the UK, US and Brazil to identify sponsors. Respondents were asked to pick official World Cup sponsors from a list of 38 brands, both official sponsors and their non-sponsor rivals.

Two-fifths (38%) of UK, US and Brazilian consumers mistakenly think MasterCard is a World Cup sponsor, with rival credit card brands Visa scoring just 4% higher recognition at 42%, according to research from GlobalWebIndex.

Other brands not officially linked to the tournament but which scored high recognition as “sponsors”, included Carlsberg in the UK. Budweiser is the official World Cup beer sponsor.

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Non-sponsor Pepsi, which has been running football-themed advertising, scored the highest awareness as a World Cup “sponsor” among US consumers. Nike, which  launched a humorous five-minute animated epic, was selected as a sponsor by nearly a third of UK and US consumers.

Meanwhile, a fifth of UK consumers also thought that Samsung is a FIFA sponsor.

MasterCard has not sponsored the World Cup since 2006, when it discontinued its 16-year association with the tournament.

On a more positive note for those brands forking out millions of pounds on sponsorship of the Brazil World Cup, Coca-Cola, a sponsor since 1978, and Adidas, a sponsor since 1970, gained the highest recognition as World Cup commercial partners.Fabregas-Pepsi-pepsi-2251258-1024-768

Coke’s association proved the most resonant for consumers, with two-thirds of UK and US consumers selecting the brand.

So what draws you to the brands that actually don’t sponsor the World Cup, the bright yellow Nike football boots? Neymar appearing on every other advert there is? The catchy adverts showing beach volley ball, funny cartoons or social media ‘buzz’?

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For me all of the above, for example Nike, they put themselves IN the game, the extremely high visible boots that everyone seems to be wearing, they have managed to integrate themselves within the World Cup, like they did in past Olympic games and other sporting events. The Nike logo visible or not becomes irrelevant when people associate the bright yellow colour to Nike football boots. That combined with their perfectly placed adverts places their products at the forefront of peoples minds!

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So yes, I think ambush marketing definitely works, why would clever brands pay so much to be official sponsors when they can still get awareness and recognition just the same? On the other hand it can also back fire, association to certain brands/services etc can give you a bad image, damage your reputation and of course really p*** off those who fork out millions to sponsor the event!

What are your thoughts on ambush marketing? Do you think it works, do you even agree, I’d love to know!

On your bike Coca Cola!

Hurrah! Finally something marketing related. Firstly apologies if you dont like marketing, it’s mostly golf, actually.. all golf, so as a one off i thought id chat about something different.

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Coca-Cola is renowned for its innovative marketing, and like so many others I am usually a big fan! They are creative, fun and most of all grab peoples attention.

One of there more successful campaigns was the  ‘2ndLives’ initiative where empty Coke bottles gets repurposed into new, useful objects, or creating a “Bio Cooler”, which is essentially a fridge that functions without electricity.

However, this latest campaign by the soft drink brand seems more of an irony instead.

So it’s called ‘Happy Cycle’, and I’m just a little confused. Individuals were invited to ride a bike and work off their calories in exchange for a can of Coke. Hmmmmm. Seems a little silly doesn’t it? Burn off calories to be rewarded with something sugary and full of calories?

At the beginning of the video (see below), the brand poses a question, “A Coke used to cost 5 cents. But what if a 12-oz Coke cost 140 calories?” This is subsequently followed up with the information that it would take you 23 minutes to burn off 140 calories if you weighed 140 pounds.

This inevitably forces the limelight on the fact that you probably shouldn’t be drinking Coca-Cola in the first place, which surely lends support to detractors of the brand.

Are they really trying to jump on the healthy band wagon?

For me that seems like too much hard work for one can of coke? And if I was to exercise I wouldn’t want to ruin the hard work by refuelling with the sugary drink? Now I’m partial to a bottle every now and then, especially in summer, and I can see where they are trying to go with this campaign… but still.coca-cola-life

This will definitely be part of their new initiatives, and something we will most probably be seeing more of due to their new launch of Coca-Cola Life, the first new cola drink it has rolled out into the UK market in eight years. The company said the new drink would help meet its pledges made under the UK government’s voluntary anti-obesity drive. It’s said to use ‘less sugar and have fewer calories’ experts still say it will have over 4 teaspoons of sugar… but that’s another story.

Commenters have also noted the irony and confusion of the newly-launched campaign.

One Youtuber wrote: “Poor Coca Cola. I love them as a company but all this video tells me is that it takes far too much time and work to make it worth it to enjoy a Coke when I could just have flavoured water or something much less sugary than 140 calories.”

Yet another user commented: “This ad actually shows exactly why I don’t want to drink a Coke. 23 minutes biking to cancel out a can of Coke? Lol.”

What’s your take on Coke’s ‘Happy Cycle’?

Check out the video here:

 

Kaymer no one hit wonder!

A forgotten hero no more! Yes, welcome back Martin Kaymer!

The U.S. Open trophy Martin Kaymer won Sunday was all he needed to prove he was anything but a one-hit wonder in the majors, and that the two years he spent trying to build a complete game were worth all the doubt that followed him.

Now, golf is a lonely game at times, it’s mostly an individual sport and wherver you are, it can seem like you are on your own. Well, Martin Kaymer kind of took that to a whole new level this weekend, playing his own golf tournament at Pinehurt no.2 in North Carolina!

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Over the four days at Pinehurst No. 2, he dusted the field in a performance that ranks among the best.

Kaymer returned to the elite in golf by turning the toughest test in golf into a runaway at Pinehurst No. 2, becoming only the seventh player to go wire-to-wire in the 114 years of the U.S. Open. Only three players finished the championship under par

“You want to win majors in your career, but if you can win one more, it means so much more,”

Both his last two wins are the U.S. Open and The Players Championship, with the strongest and deepest field in golf. He has never trailed after any round in both of them! Oh the Germans are efficient arent they!

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Kaymer joined Seve Ballesteros, Ernie Els, Woods and McIlroy as the only players to win two majors and be No. 1 in the world before turning 30 since the world ranking began in 1986. He is the fourth European in the last five years to win the U.S. Open, after Europeans had gone 40 years without this title.

It’s a rebirth for Kaymer, who reached No. 1 in the world in February 2011, only to believe that he needed a more rounded game. His preferred shot was a fade. Kaymer spent two hard years and a lot of lonely hours on the range in Germany and his American home in Scottsdale, Arizona.

He was as low as No. 63 in the world six weeks ago. Now he goes to No. 11.

 

Pinehurst No.2, 114th US Open

Let’s get straight to it, the second of the majors gets underway this week with the 114th US Open, at Pinehurst No.2. Woooooooooooooooo!

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Did you know… ( I didn’t either)

Twelve of the 14 US Open winners this century have been aged between 26 and 37 – only Woods and McIlroy have won at an age younger than 26 and in the case of those two world class stars such players are always likely to buck trends. Reducing the age range of the last 14 winners further, exactly 50% of them have been aged between 29 and 33.

So what does it take to win the US Open?

Well, in 2010, Pinehurst underwent a massive renovation that completely changed the way it plays. The course cut 35-40 acres of area that was just fairways and rough.

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‘The course now consists of 50 acres of turf, all maintained at fairway mowing heights, essentially eliminating the higher rough. The rest of the marginal areas were transformed into irregular, sandy ground dotted with wispy, unpredictable wiregrass. Bunkers that had been grown over also were reclaimed, while some existing ones were tugged and extended into lines of play.’

So yes, now it has been cut back it does allow the longer hitters to have a little more room when they hit bombs but I think Pinehurst will still have enough bite to punish those wayward drives to make some think twice for their risk and reward.

However for me I still think it’s going to come down to strong approach play, tight recovery shots and a magical touch around the greens that will Unlock Pinehurst No.2 come weekend.

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Although Rors and the inform (never really out of form) Adam Scott are favourites I honestly think it’s somebody else’s day… Not Jason’s either (apologies for the pun!)

To me this favours players like Jim Furyk, Graeme McDowell and Zach Johnson. They aren’t the most intimidating off the tee, but they understand that putting the ball where it needs to be is more important come Sunday!

Other favourites for me are Matt Kuchar, steady eddy, a few hiccups here and there so far in 2014 but Matt’s always there, scrambles well too which will be key at Pinehurst!

Another one for me is Jason Duffner, another easy going guy, but hey what do I know, let’s wait and see, bring on Pinehurst!

Who’s your pick to win the US Open? Who will rule the weekend at North Carolina?