Tiger Woods remains the oddsmakers’ favorite to capture next month’s British Open even though he isn’t among the 15 different players who have won golf’s past 15 major championships.
Woods’s drought in the four majors has reached four years after tying for 21st place at the U.S. Open in San Francisco, his worst four-round finish at the tournament. His next chance to get within three of Jack Nicklaus’s record 18 Grand Slam titles will be at the July 19-22 British Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club in northwest England.
Woods, 36, is listed as the 10-1 favorite for the season’s third major, according to the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino’s sports book. While Woods hasn’t won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open, he remains popular with bettors. Woods last week had “by far the most money on him,” according to Jeff Sherman, LVH’s assistant sports book manager.
“Betting support for Tiger helped contribute to his favoritism for the British Open,” Sherman said in an e-mail.
Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and England’s Lee Westwood are tied as the second choice at 12-1. Englishman Luke Donald, who’s No. 1 in golf’s Official World Ranking, has 20-1 odds to win his first major championship.
Harrington won British Open titles in 2007 and 2008 and is the last golfer to capture repeat major titles, with victories at the British Open and PGA Championship four years ago. Those wins came after Woods collected the last of his 14 Grand Slams in 2008 at Torrey Pines in California.
Since the start of 2009, no golfer has more than one major title. Of the past 14 majors, 12 were captured by golfers who hadn’t previously won a Grand Slam, including the past nine. Webb Simpson’s one-shot win at the U.S. Open two days ago followed Bubba Watson’s playoff win at the Masters in April.
Simpson and Watson have 40-1 odds to win at Royal Lytham, along with Ernie Els, Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott and 2010 British Open winner Louis Oosthuizen.
Woods won his second and third British Open titles in 2005 and 2006. In the past five years, he missed the tournament twice because of injury, failed to make the cut for weekend play in 2009, tied for 12th in 2007 and tied for 23rd in 2010.
Although he slipped out of contention at the U.S. Open by shooting 8-over par during the final two rounds, he said he was encouraged by his ball-striking at the Olympic Club. Woods will play in two more events -- the AT&T National in Bethesda, Maryland, from June 28 to July 1 and the Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, from July 5-8 -- before traveling to Lancashire, England, for the British Open.
“There’s a lot of positives to be taken away,” Woods said after the U.S. Open. “I just gotta apply them.”
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