Tiger Woods is favored by oddsmakers to win the U.S. Open, golf’s next major championship, even though he hasn’t claimed a title for almost 18 months.
Woods, a three-time U.S. Open winner, is a 13-2 favorite at the Las Vegas Hilton’s Race and Sports Book to capture this year’s tournament, which is scheduled for June 16-19 at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.
Woods tied for fourth place at the Masters last week in Augusta, Georgia, after taking a share of the lead in the final round. It was the best finish in six events this year for Woods. That success, along with his overall popularity, makes him the clear U.S. Open favorite, said Andrew Patterson, an oddsmaker at Las Vegas Sports Consultants.
“He did look good in two of four rounds,” Patterson said yesterday in a telephone interview. “He held it together and didn’t blow up as he has the last several months. I think he’s still overvalued, but when he wins again somebody will say, ‘I told you he could do it.’ And he will win again.”
Phil Mickelson is the second favorite at 10-1, followed by Lee Westwood of England and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland at 15-1. Defending U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, also of Northern Ireland, has 40-1 odds, the same as Masters winner Charl Schwartzel of South Africa.
The last of Woods’s 14 major championship titles came at the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, California. His last victory was at the Australian Masters in November 2009. He remains winless since returning from his self-imposed hiatus following admissions of marital infidelity that led to his divorce last year.
Woods has had success at Congressional before, winning the 2009 AT&T National, a tournament held at the course that was hosted by his foundation. Woods also won U.S. Open titles in 2000 and 2002, and hasn’t finished worse than sixth at the championship in his past four appearances.
Woods hasn’t said which U.S. PGA Tour event he’ll play next. The past two years, he’s entered the Quail Hollow Championship following the Masters. That tournament, now known as the Wells Fargo Championship, is scheduled for May 5-8 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Woods said he’s encouraged by his play at the Masters and was excited to be back in contention.
“I played well and unfortunately just came up a little short on the back nine,” Woods told reporters at a clinic yesterday in Dongguan, China. “It was fun being in the mix.”
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