I'm thinking about numbers today...actually, I think about numbers every day. My signature line on my emails at my old job was "Numbers are my Friends" (wow, that's probably got therapy session written all over it now that I see it!) Anyway, I've decided that one of the reasons I'm probably crazy about golf is that it's all about the numbers!
Have you looked at a golf club lately? It's measured in inches, it's got the shaft weight in grams, and more often than not it's numbered on the club head, or has a degree of loft on it somewhere. And how about keeping score? Numbers everywhere (especially when you're keeping track of putts, too)!
If you've ever watched a Titleist commercial you know that that the number on the golf ball can matter to a player. Usually we see a 1 through 4, but you do see those occasional 5 through 8's out there (Adam Scott plays 9's, which we can't get). Although some golf ball brands like to be different, like Precept and Taylor Made (complete sidebar, but I just read that Greg Norman is now going to be playing TM clubs and balls!). Do you like a specific number?
The minute we hit the ball we're throwing out numbers to say how far it went. We count in our head as we pace off shots to get the right yardage number (or if you're lucky you've got a GPS that's giving you numbers the entire round!). How many times have we said, "I should have hit one more club" or "This is a 2 club wind"? Can you think of more numbers out there?
Numbers are all around us as soon as we make our tee time...2-some, 4-some? 9 or 18 holes? Even the golf carts are numbered! I'm sure there's more, but my head is swimming now! For a numbers nerd (like me) golf is a little slice of heaven.
And think about what's it's like to be golf fan (and a numbers nerd)...my heart is beating a little bit faster just thinking about the golf stats that are all over the Web. Driving distance, birdies, eagles, sand saves, scrambling, and the list goes on. A few months ago I spent some time learning about the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) - wow! That is some serious math.
But what got me thinking about numbers today was my curiosity on who the favorites were for the upcoming tournaments - I thought about it for a moment and then Googled "golf betting odds". I'm not all that familiar with how betting like this works, so I was interested to read up on it (I am not condoning gambling in any fashion, but if you want to wager on the Masters, let me know!).
I was wondering about the upcoming Kraft Nabisco Dinah Shore this week - I suspected Lorena Ochoa would be the favorite, and she is - her odds are 4/5 (which I think means, in the US for every $5 bet you'd win $4 back + your orginal wager). But what I was really wondering about was where Michelle Wie stood - on the site I looked at she is 40/1, tied for 7th on the listing with Suzann Pettersen. Ji Yai Shin was second and has 4/1 odds. Paula Creamer was 9/1, Angela Stanford 10/1, and last weeks winner Karrie Webb, was 25/1 (note: these sites are all based in England).
I browsed the Shell Houston Open and I wasn't surprised to see Phil as the favorite. Geoff Ogilvy was right behind at 15/1. Steve Stricker was right up there at 20/1, and Sergio was on the short list, too, at 22/1. Last year's winner, Johnson Wagner, was 100/1. If you are a Matthew Goggin fan, a small wager could get you 10,000/1 odds.
I snuck a peek at the Masters and Tiger was firmly planted on top at 7/4. Next closest was Mickelson at 8/1, followed by Harrington at 18/1 and Sergio at 23/1. My Masters winner prediction a few months ago was Justin Leonard - his odds are 171/1. I see that predicting skills still stink. Davis Love, who has a pretty good probability of not getting an invite at all, is currently at 141/1. And I had to look up the Shark who gives you 300 to 1 odds (I guess we won't be picking him for the fantasy team next week). Fred Couples fared a little better at 244/1. Oh, and the new phenom, Rory McIlory is 35/1. I don't know why I didn't think about checking out this odds stuff before. Good Stuff!
I could have spent a lot more time just browsing around and feeding my numbers high, but I soon found myself daydreaming of freshly mowed fairways, sunshine, a slight breeze on my cheeks, and just swinging my driver. We just got another foot of snow here and my golf fever is killing me - it's hard not to daydream. I can't wait for the opportunity to get out with some pals and get my first golf fix for the year. So, for as much as I love numbers (and I do love them), golf, for me, is about feeding all of my senses...and that's really why I love it.
Filed under: Greg Norman, Fred Couples, Tiger, numbers, Odds, Justin Leonard