Tiger Woods – Good Value or a Fool’s Bet?

With the US Masters at Augusta kicking off in less than 24 hours time, punters have launched a betting plunge on Tiger Woods, forcing bookmakers to lower his odds. Tiger’s odds to win the tournament have dropped from 11.00 to 9.00 at Sportingbet, with one punter placing $60,000 on him.

Sportingbet Australia CEO Michael Sullivan said: “Punters clearly think Woods is ready to win again and the money we have seen this week is like two years ago when punters loaded up on Woods to win every major.”

“Punters are getting far better odds now too of course as he was $3.00 for the Masters two years ago and we have bet a punter $60,000 at $11 this week.”

“This is the biggest price Woods has been for a tournament in over a decade and punters are happy to gamble that this will be the week he rediscovers the magic.”

Meanwhile for the Australian contenders, Aaron Baddeley has been heavily backed, with his odds shortening from 67.00 to 41.00 following some large bets. Phil Mickelson remains the favourite at 7.00 odds.

So, this raises the question, are people buying into the Tiger Woods hype and throwing money away, or will he snap his losing streak at Augusta? Below are Tiger Woods’ results for 2011 (sourced from Wikipedia):

  • Farmers Insurance Open
    Woods played strongly for the first two rounds, scoring 69-69 to sit five strokes behind halfway leader Bill Haas. But on the weekend, many wayward approach shots found greenside bunkers, and Woods was unable to recover sufficiently well to stay in contention. He scored 74-75 to end at one-under-par 287, 15 strokes behind winner Bubba Watson, in a tie for 44th place.
  • Dubai Desert Classic
    Woods started with 71 and scored 6-under 66 in round two to move into contention, and stayed in the hunt with 72 for round three, but struggled on Sunday with 75, to end in a tie for 20th place, seven shots back of winner Álvaro Quirós.
  • WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
    Woods lost in the first round on the first sudden-death hole, the 19th, to Thomas Bjørn, after the two players had tied their 18-hole match.
  • WGC-Cadillac Championship
    Woods was never in contention to win, ending with a tie for 10th place, scoring 70-74-70-66, eight shots behind winner Nick Watney.
  • 2011 Tavistock Cup
    This is a charity interclub team event. Woods teamed with Arjun Atwal the first day to post a better-ball score of 64, and shot 69 on his own ball on day two. Lake Nona won the team portion of the event, and England’s Oliver Wilson won the Payne Stewart Salver with the low individual score of 65.
  • 2011 Arnold Palmer Invitational
    Woods showed inconsistent play over the four rounds, carding 73-68-74-72 to finish at one-under-par 287, in a tie for 24th place, seven shots behind winner Martin Laird.

Based on this form, I wouldn’t back Tiger Woods at the available odds, but what about his Master’s form? Below are Tiger’s results for previous Masters tournaments.

  • 2000
  • 2001 – WON
  • 2002 – WON
  • 2003 – tied 15th
  • 2004 – tied 22nd
  • 2005 – WON
  • 2006 – tied 3rd
  • 2007 – tied 2nd
  • 2008 – 2nd
  • 2009 – tied 6th
  • 2010 – tied 4th

Based on these results you can appreciate why people would back him. According to the BBC there are some, including former coach Hank Haney, who think he will feature prominently this week because of his knowledge and liking for the course.

As for me, I won’t be backing Tiger, nor will I be laying any bets against him, at least not until the first round is complete. I genuinely feel a large group of people could win this tournament, so I await the start with anticipation.

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