Tiger Woods Has Masters Odds Jump to 50-1 After Glute IssuesErik Matuszewski
Tiger Woods blamed deactivated gluteal muscles for his latest woes and oddsmakers don’t anticipate a turnaround in his health and game by the time golf’s Masters Tournament starts in two months.
Woods’s odds of winning the season’s first major championship, scheduled for April 9-12 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, have jumped to 50-1 at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. Woods had been listed at 20-1 before pulling out of the U.S. PGA Tour’s Farmers Insurance Open last week in California because of a back injury.
“He’s never been that high for the Masters,” said Jeff Sherman, the SuperBook’s assistant manager. “I never thought we would see him at this point.”
Over the past year, the 14-time major champion and former No. 1-ranked golfer in the world has played in eight full-field events, missing the cut for weekend play three times, withdrawing three times and failing to finish better than 25th place. Woods made his season debut two weeks ago and missed the cut at the Phoenix Open after shooting an 11-over-par 82 in the second round, the worst score of his professional career.
That performance has left oddsmakers thinking that 20-1 isn’t enough of an incentive for people to back Woods to end his 10-year wait for a fifth Masters title.
“After what we’ve seen the past couple weeks, keeping the odds around 20-1 would deter any further betting support,” Sherman said.
The Masters is golf’s most popular tournament among bettors, Sherman said, pulling in twice as much at sportsbooks as the next closest event, the U.S. Open. At the SuperBook, wagering on the Masters is open from August through April.
Woods blamed his most recent withdrawal on a fog delay that postponed the start of his round at Torrey Pines Golf Club outside San Diego by more than two hours and affected his back.
“It’s just my glutes are shutting off,” said Woods, who has dropped to 62nd in the Official World Golf Ranking, his lowest spot since Oct. 5, 1996. “Then they don’t activate and then it goes into my lower back.”
The latest setback leaves his preparation for this year’s Masters in jeopardy. It’s not yet known how long Woods will be sidelined and he hasn’t said when he’ll play next.
After events in California this week in Pebble Beach and next week in Pacific Palisades, the PGA Tour heads east for its Florida swing. Woods, when healthy in recent years, has tried to play in the Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship in Miami and the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando. Last year, Woods withdrew from the Honda Classic in the final round because of back problems and underwent surgery to repair a pinched nerve on March 31, a procedure that forced him to miss the Masters and U.S. Open. This year’s Honda Classic starts Feb. 26.
“If he feels like it’s best to go and take some time off, not to continue to play, then he’s got to do that,” said Rickie Fowler, who played alongside Woods at Torrey Pines.
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland remains the Masters favorite, with 4-1 odds of winning at Augusta National and completing the career Grand Slam of all four major titles. Jason Day of Australia is now the second-favorite at 12-1 after winning at Torrey Pines in a playoff, with Adam Scott, Bubba Watson and Jordan Spieth listed at 15-1.
Woods used to be by far the most popular golfer among bettors, perhaps not surprising since his 79 PGA Tour wins are second only to Sam Snead (82) and he’s been No. 1 in the world rankings for 683 weeks in his career. Now the most popular bets for the Masters, Sherman said, are “young guns” like Patrick Reed, Fowler, Spieth and Day.
“With everything that’s going on in his life right now, with the chipping stuff and the injuries, I just really feel bad for Tiger right now,” Day, 27, said. “But hopefully he’ll bounce back and he’ll get things sorted out.”