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Greg Norman And British Open: How Much Of A Long Shot is He?

Thursday, 17 Jul 2008 | 3:21 PM ET
Greg Norman
AP
Greg Norman

There has been a couple articles out there about Tiger’s absence in the British Open and how it’s created this wide open field for the gamblers.

Well, if Greg Norman somehow wins this thing, a couple of my sportsbook friends have told me that this will probably be the most well-backed, greatest long shot in golf betting history.

The 53-year-old who we can now call Chris Evert’s husband, is tied for fourth, finishing his round at Royal Birkdale at even par.

Many U.S. books, including those in Vegas, didn’t even have Norman on the board. But the active shops in Europe had Norman as high as 300-to-1. It wasn’t a bad read by the bookmakers. The guy hasn’t played in a major since the British three years ago at St. Andrews. Those odds, for the most part, were slashed in half after Round 1, as the bookmakers don’t believe Norman, who was wearing no logos aside from the familiar “Shark” logo on his hat, can keep up this pace.

But if Norman won this thing, he’d be considered a pretty big long shot. Angel Cabrera won last year’s U.S. Open at 125-to-1, the same odds that were given to Masters champion Zach Johnson. When Todd Hamilton won the British four years ago, he teed off at 200-to-1.

Norman wouldn’t, however, be the biggest long shot ever to win a major championship. I don’t have all the historical betting research in front of me, but John Daly (1991 PGA) and Ben Curtis (2003 British) both went off at an astounding 500-to-1.

The difference here is that you’d have to think that more people would have thrown a couple down on Norman than they did for Daly or Curtis. Reports in England after the victory by Curtis, who was then ranked 396th in the world and was playing in his first major, said that only four people had put down a wager on the man. Six total people in England were reported to have bet on Hamilton a year later.

But unlike the people who won who were considered no-names, people have an affinity for Norman and that could result in some pretty big winners besides “The Shark”, if he pulls it off.

Update: Jacob at "Vegas Watch"tells us that one offshore sports book, 5Dimes.com, had Norman at 500-to-1 before he teed off for his first round today.

British Open: Good for Gamblers?
The British Open is being played at Royal Birkdale, and while television ratings likely won't be as great without Tiger Woods in the mix, it could be a good time for gamblers, reports CNBC's Darren Rovell.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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