ST. ANDREWS, Scotland — Andrew Beliveau graduated from Concordia College in Minnesota nearly two decades ago. But he still has a team of college buddies with whom he takes an annual buddy trip. In recent years, they have 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 Concordia golf team and caddyed at the posh Whisper Rock Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, is an avid golfer. His friends too. As they brainstormed their ideas for their 2022 excursion last year, they were quick to settle on one 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 mess would cost each of them thousands. Beliveau had a potential solution. A die-hard Golden State Warriors fan – Beliveau rarely misses a game – he was optimistic about their chances of winning another NBA title in the 2021-22 season.
“I say, ‘Let’s just leave them a bunch of money,'” Beliveau told me on Saturday.
His friends liked the idea.
Sports betting isn’t legal in Minnesota, so Beliveau and three other members of his team of pals took a side trip to Diamond Jo, a casino just across the border in Iowa.
“We hit all the kiosks, as many as we could get to them,” Beliveau said. “We all contributed.”
At that point, they found odds of 10-1. Midway through the season, feeling even more confident the Warriors were ready for a postseason run, they doubled down, but now at a smaller 6-1 odds. In total, Beliveau said, they had between $5,000 and $6,000 at stake.
If you’re a basketball fan, you know what happened next. The Warriors qualified for the playoffs and eliminated the Boston Celtics, 4-2, in the Finals. Steph Curry had won her fourth ring and a bunch of old college buddies from Minnesota had won around $30,000.
If you’re there at The Open this week, that explains why in round three you might have spotted a group of seven fans wandering 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 sunny skies on Saturday. Not only are they attending a historic sporting event in the holy land of golf, but they are also staying at a primo property across from the 18th green for which they paid $18,000 on Airbnb.
“We got a good deal, I think,” said one of Beliveau’s friends as they struggled to catch a glimpse of Rory McIlroy on the 1st green.
“And we don’t need to use public restrooms,” he added with a laugh.
There was a reason the crew was following McIlroy: They bet on him to win. The 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 besides Rory.”