As Geoff Shackelford noted, Phil Mickelson’s win on Sunday not only passed Tiger Woods in the world rankings, but Lefty also became the betting favorite. I certainly sign off on Mickelson being the favorite (at a reasonable 8-1), but the second favorite is still Tiger?!? At 10-1?
Let’s play a little game. Let’s say you were given $100 to place a bet on the Masters. At what odds would you feel comfortable taking Tiger, given what else is on the board?
Yes, I realize that Tiger has won four green jackets, and that he fell out of bed last year and finished fourth — a truly remarkable performance. But I argue that Tiger’s game was in much better shape last year than it is right now. Since last year, his game has been stripped bare, and he has no fall-back option, no Band-Aid, no safety valve. That goes for his short game and putting, too. I just don’t see him contending at the Sony Open, yet alone a major. And certainly not over the world’s best golfers, many of whom are grooming their games for this week.
So how far does Tiger fall? These are odds from the Tropicana in Las Vegas.
The buzz guys — Dustin Johnson: 12 to 1, Nick Watney: 15 to 1, Lee Westwood: 15 to 1, Martin Kaymer: 18 to 1, Matt Kuchar: 18 to 1
I understand if you have your doubts about Johnson, but he’s a personal favorite of mine, especially after reading this. Watney, Westwood, Kaymer and Kuchar are all serious contenders, even if they have a combined one major between them. I’ll pass on Tiger.
More Euros — Rory McIlroy: 20 to 1, Graeme McDowell: 25 to 1, Luke Donald: 25 to 1
Still not biting. Donald dominated the match play, McDowell is a threat at any major, and I’ll take the trending upward McIlroy over Tiger. So I’m avoiding Tiger at 25-1 so far.
The Other Americans — Bubba Watson: 25 to 1, Ricky Barnes: 35 to 1, Rickie Fowler: 35 to 1
I can’t wait to see what Bubba does at Augusta, and I like my chances more with the consistent Rickie Fowler. Barnes vs. Tiger? OK, I’ll take Tiger at this point. But that’s 35-1, not 10-1.
Bodog.com also has unlisted players such as Paul Casey (25-1), Hunter Mahan (28-1), Justin Rose (30-1) Steve Stricker (33-1), Aaron Baddeley (33-1), Ian Poulter (33-1), Ernie Els (33-1) and Anthony Kim (33-1), and I like all those plays better than Tiger. And for what it’s worth, my sleeper/potential huge payout is Gary Woodland at 150-1. Tom Watson is last at 400-1.
Where would you feel comfortable taking Woods?
(AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)