Biggest Underdogs In Golf History; Top Major Champion Underdog Stories

Biggest Underdogs In Golf History; Top Major Champion Underdog Stories
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

National Underdog Day is on December 16th and when it comes to sports betting, although there isn't Georgia sports betting yet, no sport sets up for a big underdog more than golf. With fields that can reach up to 144 contestants, there are always golfers who enter full-field events with odds well above +10000 and can even reach +100000. With underdogs in two-team sporting events rarely having odds above +500 this presents a unique opportunity for betters to find odds that they can usually only get in parlays.

With all of this talk about underdogs ahead of their national day, BetGeorgia wanted to see who the biggest underdogs to ever win a major golf tournament were, so we utilized SportsOddsHistory to find the eventual major champions that entered their tournaments with the longest pre-tournament odds.

Top Underdogs In Golf Major Championship History

If you were lucky enough to have the hindsight and Georgia betting apps were legal, the following underdogs would have significantly boosted your bankroll. Here are the Top Underdogs in golf championship history since 2000.

Rank Championship Tournament Pre-Tournament Odds
1 Phil Mickelson 2021 PGA Championship +25000
2 Louis Oosthuizen 2010 Open Championship +20000
T-3 Trevor Immelman 2008 Masters +15000
T-3 Lucas Glover 2009 US Open +15000
T-3 Keegan Bradley 2011 PGA Championship +15000
T-3 Darren Clarke 2011 Open Championship +15000
T-7 Zach Johnson2007 Masters +12500
T-7 Angel Cabrera 2009 Masters +12500
T-7 Y.E. Yang 2009 PGA Championship +12500
T-7 Stewart Cink 2009 Open Championship +12500
T-7 Jimmy Walker 2016 PGA Championship +12500
T-7 Brian Harman 2023 PGA Championship +12500

Phil Mickelson Leads As Biggest Underdog to Win PGA Championship

Phil Mickelson’s magical win at the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah stands alone at the top. Despite his many previous major victories, he hadn’t shown any solid form coming into the event, and winning a major championship at the age of 50 was unprecedented. Nevertheless, a final round 73 finished off a two-stroke victory for Mickelson and he became the oldest major champion ever in addition to the biggest underdog to ever win one.

Louis Oosthuizen took a bit of a different route than Mickelson when winning a major tournament as a big longshot. While Mickelson had proven himself as a star and was simply an aging player on the decline, Oosthuizen won his major championship in 2010 at The Open, catapulting him into years of stardom. While he hasn’t won another major, Oosthuizen has contended multiple times since his win, finishing second in majors six times. Bettors who jumped on him at 200/1 in 2010 definitely bought early on his talent and were rewarded and the majority of bettors who missed that opportunity have been chasing that ever since.

Mickelson and to a lesser extent Oosthuizen are examples of superstars who were able to win majors at unexpected times but the majority of the biggest underdogs to win majors are players that peaked during their surprising wins. Trevor Immelman, Lucas Glover, Keegan Bradley and more have all had solid careers, but never have been considered favorites to win any major championships. Most recently, Brian Harman won The Open this past year after entering the tournament with odds of +125000. However, Harman entered that tournament ranked 26th in the world and had solid form coming in, allowing sharp bettors to take advantage of what can only be considered a bad number on the odds board.

Golf is not the first sport that comes to mind when thinking about sports betting, and with the NFL thriving it likely never will be. Regardless, when it comes to making money betting on underdogs golf will always be the sport with the biggest potential payoff.



Cecil Peters is a Senior Betting Analyst for A professional sports bettor in Canada, Cecil specializes in analyzing the latest odds impacting professional sports teams, with a focus on golf, the NFL and NHL.

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