ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Andrew Beliveau graduated from Concordia College, in Minnesota, nearly two decades ago. But he still has a crew of college mates with whom he takes an annual buddies’ trip. In recent years, they’ve attended Southeastern Conference football games. But this year they wanted to do something more ambitious: a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Beliveau, who played on the golf team at Concordia and has caddied at swanky Whisper Rock Golf Club, in Scottsdale, Ariz., is a big golf guy. So are his pals. So as they mulled ideas for their 2022 excursion last year, they didn’t take long to settle on a destination: the 150th Open Championship at the Old Course.
One problem: It wouldn’t be cheap. With flights, accommodations, tickets and more than a few pints, their bucket-list boondoggle would cost each of them thousands. Beliveau had a potential solution. A diehard Golden State Warriors fan — Beliveau rarely misses a game — he was bullish on their chances to win another NBA title in the 2021-22 season.
“I go, ‘Let’s just throw a sh-tload of money on them,’” Beliveau told me Saturday.
His friends liked the idea.
Sport betting isn’t legal in Minnesota, so Beliveau and three other members of his buddy-trip crew took a field trip to Diamond Jo, a casino just over the border in Iowa.
“We hit all the kiosks, as much as we could get on it,” Beliveau said. “We all chipped in.”
At that point, they found odds of 10-1. Midway through the season, feeling even more confident that the Warriors were primed to make a post-season run, they doubled down, albeit now with smaller odds of 6-1. All in, Beliveau said, they had somewhere between $5,000 and $6,000 on the line.
If you’re a basketball fan, you know what happened next. The Warriors advanced through the playoffs and knocked off the Boston Celtics, 4-2, in the finals. Steph Curry had won his fourth ring, and a gaggle of old college pals from Minnesota had won roughly $30,000.
If you’re on site at the Open this week, this explains why in the third round you may have spotted a group of seven fans roaming around the Old Course in golden-yellow Kevon Looney jerseys.
Beliveau and his boys were all smiles and laughs as they watched the action under sun-splashed skies on Saturday. Not only are they attending a historic sporting event on golfing holy land but they’re also staying in a primo property across the street from the 18th green for which they paid $18,000 on Airbnb.
“We got a great deal, I think,” one of Beliveau’s friends said as they strained for a view of Rory McIlroy on the 1st green.
“And we don’t have to use the public restrooms,” he added with a laugh.
There was a reason the crew was following McIlroy: They have a bet on him to win. Same goes for Cameron Smith and Cameron Young. But the most lucrative payout — which if it hits, they said, will help fund a trip to an Ole Miss football game in the fall — will come if McIlroy claims the Claret Jug.
“If Rory wins,” Beliveau’s friend said, “we’re going to be the happiest people on the course, other than Rory.”
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