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Versus the field is a type of sports market offered in golf betting. It usually occurs in the later rounds of a tournament when one player is a considerable number of shots ahead of the rest of the competitors. Bettors are then offered a price to stake against that player winning – essentially betting on anyone else being victorious.
The versus the field selection is a popular bet as it gives the bettor more of a chance of winning something from a golf tournament even if it seems likely who the winner will be.
For example, if Jordan Spieth was five shots ahead on the final day of the tournament a bookmaker may offer a versus the field market allowing bettors to wager that Spieth will end up losing. For this to be a winning bet it only matters that Spieth somehow falls away on the last day. It doesn’t matter whether Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods or a complete unknown wins for the bet to be successful.
In major tournaments this market may be offered at the start of the competition with a group of golfers named versus the field. Similarly it only needs someone else to win the tournament for this bet to be a winner.
Although versus the field bets require absolutely anyone to win other than the named golfer, the biggest comeback in PGA Tour history happened in 1999 when Paul Lawrie won the British Open. Lawrie began the final round an incredible 10 strokes behind but ended up winning in a four hole aggregate score playoff to take the title. This is a great example of a successful versus the field bet.