An unbelievable snow delay at the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona may leave golf bettors out in the cold.
The tournament was interrupted by two inches of snow at the Golf Club at Dove Mountain Wednesday, throwing the event's schedule into disarray and leaving books and bettors scratching their heads about odds for the second round.
“I don't know how the second round betting will work, if available at all,” Covers Expert Matt Fargo, a golf betting specialist, told Covers.
Nine first-round matchups had not yet started when players were called off the course Wednesday. Play was supposed to resume at 8:30 a.m. MT Thursday and the second round was expected to get underway around noon. However, the restart was pushed back (1:30 p.m. ET) with each matchup teeing up in 10-minute intervals, leaving the strong possibility of Rounds 1-3 running into each other.
The match-play field of the top 64 golfers in the world will be trimmed to 16 – hopefully – by the end of the day. But betting may not be open until this mess is sorted out, according to Las Vegas sportsbooks.
“Doesn't look good for betting WGC Match Play as rounds 1-3 will roll into each other ... looking like Friday night for next wagering opps,” Jeff Sherman, an oddsmaker for the LVH Superbook said on Twitter.
Online books are seeing a little less impact on their betting for the Match Play Championship. While the shuffling to the schedule does delay their round-to-round odds and dulls a lot of the interest in the tournament, live in-play betting is becoming very popular with golf bettors looking for an alternative.
"Golf has always been a very popular in-play betting sport and one that we have been covering in-play for about nine years now," Aron Black of Bet365.com told Covers. "We are used to the delays that can happen for weather or other reasons and we just update what markets we can offer and leave them open until the tournament or event recommences, to where we will just go back to our normal routine."
Fargo says the cold weather shouldn’t be too much of a factor in the head-to-head matchups, since both golfers are playing in the same conditions. However, he does note that some players are more apt to playing in poor weather than others, pointing out one of the nine opening-round matchups that never got started Wednesday.
“Paul Lawrie (+105) is a notoriously good poor-weather player as he is very used to unfavorable conditions,” says Fargo. “The same cannot be said for (Scott) Piercy who grew up in Las Vegas and went to college at San Diego State. So the cold conditions should have a negative effect on him. Additionally, this is his first time here while Lawrie is a veteran with 11 matches under his belt and he made it to the third round last year.”
Keegan Bradley is another golfer Fargo is keeping an eye on. He is currently square with Marcus Fraser after three holes and could face Ernie Els or Fredrik Jacobson in the second round. A native of the northeast, Bradley told reporters he grew up in Vermont and played in these conditions "a million times".
“If second round betting becomes available and Bradley advanced, he will be worth a hard look then and going forward,” says Fargo.
Check out Fargo's tournament preview and overall tournament winner picks.