Tiger back to being bookies’ favorite for Masters
Tiger Woods is back to winning, and back to being the British
bookies’ favorite to win the Masters.
The 14-time major champion won his first PGA Tour tournament
since 2009 on Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.
It was his first chance to revel in a tour victory since his
personal life went into turmoil following a sex scandal that ended
his marriage and precipitated a steady decline in his game and his
stature as the man to beat on the course.
But with his five-stroke victory Sunday and the Masters starting
April 5, all that has changed.
”His whole game looks right now. He’s putting well. He’s
chipping well. He’s driving well,” said Rupert Adams, a spokesman
for British bookmaker William Hill. ”The armor looks to be back in
place again, and actually possibly the aura. Once again he’s got
the swagger back in his step.”
William Hill has Woods listed as the 4-1 favorite to win his
fifth Masters title, with Rory McIlroy close behind at 5-1. Other
bookies have similar odds, with Ladbrokes quoting the same numbers
as William Hill. Paddy Power and Coral both have Woods as the 7-2
favorite with McIlroy next at 9-2.
At 4-1 odds, a $1 bet returns $5. At 7-2, $1 returns $4.50.
”The four-time champion, fresh from his first PGA Tour win in
30-months at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, has every chance,”
Ladbrokes said on its website.
This year’s Masters will be the first major in which Woods is
listed as the favorite since the same tournament in 2010, shortly
after his public downfall.
”We put him out at a top price at 5-2 then,” Adams said. ”We
took 3,000 bets in the space of three hours. That was the last time
he was favorite. Since then he’s collapsed. They (bettors) started
to back him to miss the cut after that.”
But with Woods improving, the bookies are changing tactics, and
another good showing at Augusta National could see Woods stay at
the top of the betting lists for the foreseeable future.
”The Masters and Tiger are synonymous after that extraordinary
(performance) when he destroyed the field (in 1997),” Adams said.
”If he gives a good show, even a top-10 finish, I think you’ll see
once again Tiger is the first person on the betting sheet, without