Why a group of Midwesterners on an epic trip were wearing Kevon Looney jerseys at the British Open

Seven friends who met at Concordia University in Minnesota bet big on the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA championship, and it bankrolled their trip to The Open in Scotland, where they wore matching Kevon Looney jerseys. From left: Tom Lybeck, Mike Dokken, Dan Ryan, Nate Ohme, Clarence Hunt , Andrew Beliveau and Mitch Moore.
Seven friends who met at Concordia University in Minnesota bet big on the Golden State Warriors to win the NBA championship, and it bankrolled their trip to The Open in Scotland, where they wore matching Kevon Looney jerseys. From left: Tom Lybeck, Mike Dokken, Dan Ryan, Nate Ohme, Clarence Hunt , Andrew Beliveau and Mitch Moore.

Milwaukee native Kevon Looney picked up his third NBA championship ring when the Golden State Warriors beat the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals last month, signed a three-year deal to stay with the franchise and ... now has a presence at one of golf's most hallowed venues?

The last part requires some explanation, and it's an epic story.

Seven friends originally from Minnesota and North Dakota showed up at Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland for the 150th installment of The Open Championship, indirectly courtesy of Looney and his fellow Warriors, for the trip of a lifetime. They were adorned in bright-yellow No. 5 Looney Warriors jerseys.

"Yeah, it's been crazy how many locals out here have commented on the shirts," said Andrew Beliveau, who made the voyage with buddies from his days at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. "Eighty percent loved them. A few drunks late trash-talked them, 'Go Celtics, go Lakers.' ... Been a ton of fun."

Don't the original Celtics have roots in that part of the world, after all? Anyway...

How the friends got there has everything to do with their confidence in the Warriors. Alan Bastable of Golf.com has the full story of how Beliveau — a diehard Warriors fan — convinced his friends before the basketball season to wager as much as they could on Golden State to win the NBA title. They traveled to Iowa to place their bets; Beliveau said they had roughly 10-1 odds before the season, then doubled down midway through the year at 6-1, and wound up pooling somewhere between $5,000 and $6,000 dollars to come away with $30,000.

The winnings provided airfare and also a remarkable Airbnb location across the street from the 18th green for $18,000. Beliveau said the friends have bets on the action at The Open, too, including a big one on Rory McIlroy to win. And, as it turns out, McIlroy was tied for the lead going into Sunday. 

More: Golfweek coverage of The Open Championship

“If Rory wins,” one of Beliveau’s friends told Golf.com, “we’re going to be the happiest people on the course, other than Rory.”

But why Looney, who started 13 Warriors playoff games this year (including three in the finals)? He's been more a workmanlike component of the Warriors run while superstars like Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and even breakout star and fellow Milwaukeean Jordan Poole have garnered the headlines.

"Were massive Looney fans and always have felt he's been a massive key component, especially the playoffs," Beliveau said.

JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or jradcliffe@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Group of buddies win big, wear Kevon Looney jerseys at The Open