Tiger Woods isn’t all the way back but he’s close enough for sportsbooks to start bracing for a potential hit.
Woods for the first time since 2009 led a major tournament in the final round when he briefly took the lead Sunday at The Open before a 3-over stretch on Nos. 11 and 12 doomed him.
The 14-time major winner ultimately finished tied for sixth, but it was the closest he has come to winning one of golf’s biggest tournaments in nearly a decade, and there’s renewed optimism Woods will again raise the trophy at a major tournament.
His next chance will come in just a few weeks at Bellerive in the PGA Championship. And as it stands right now, Woods will enter that tournament as one of the betting favorites.
Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook manager and golf expert Jeff Sherman released his PGA Championship odds Sunday afternoon, and just three players have better odds than Woods, who currently sits at 16-to-1.
Here’s the current list of favorites
Rory McIlroy 12-1
Justin Spieth 12-1
Dustin Johnson 12-1
Tiger Woods 16-1
Rickie Fowler 16-1
Justin Thomas 16-1
Justin Rose 18-1
Jon Rahm 20-1
Tommy Fleetwood 25-1
It’s important to note Woods’ standing among the favorites doesn’t just reflect the book’s beliefs in his chances to win. Woods obviously will enter the tournament as a legitimate contender after his performance at Carnoustie, but there’s also some built-in insurance here. Until Woods finally breaks through, skepticism is warranted, given the up-and-down nature of his play, but sportsbooks can’t expose themselves with longer odds, especially when the public likely will hammer Woods, which would leave the books on the hook for some large payouts if he’s able to finish the job.
Thumbnail photo via Steve Flynn/USA TODAY Sports Images