I’m a casual golf fan. I don’t play myself unless forced to in business affairs. I don’t watch all the tournaments and try to catch a few days of the majors, but this week is different. I’m pumped about The Masters, which tees off Thursday at Augusta National.
Yes, I have Tiger fever and I think the entire nation is with me, which is why CBS will likely set an all-time record for ratings. Woods appears to be back in form and will be looking to win his first major since 2008 and his first tournament win anywhere since 2013. The dude has been sitting on 14 majors wins since 2008, four back of Jack Nicklaus for the all-time record. Come on Tiger, chase down the great Buckeye!
Here’s a look at some golfers I have bet to win or played in match-ups with some recent trends:
Tiger Woods (12/1): I didn’t get any of the 100-to-1 odds offered at the Westgate SuperBook when the odds were first posted, but come on, there was no inclination of Tiger ever returning. He was an emotional and mental wreck. But he slowly put it all back together and regained his confidence. After missing the cut of the Genesis Open in February to drop his world ranking to No. 544, he finished 12th in the Honda Classic. And then last month he put it all together finishing second at the Valspar Championship.
A week later he finished fifth in the Arnold Palmer Invitational and he’s now ranked No. 105 in the world. He hasn’t played since then, but the four-time Masters winner should put on a show. And maybe I just hope and like great stories to happen, but it feels right seeing crowds roar for Tiger on Sunday as he approaches each hole holding the lead. Never bet with your heart, but in this case, I can’t help it and I’ve got thousands with me in the same boat. He’s the biggest risk at every Las Vegas sportsbook.
Justin Rose (14/1): This is a guy Westgate Superbook oddsmaker Jeff Sherman said has a great shot to win and whenever he tells me something about golf I always listen. Rose didn’t fare well last week in the Houston open (52nd), but he was third in the Arnold Palmer and fifth in the Valspar. The Englishman was runner-up in last season’s Masters and won the 2013 U.S. Open.
Rickie Fowler (16/1): He’s dropped from the world No. 7 to No. 8 due to stinking up every course he’s played on in his last four, beginning with missing the cut in the Honda Classic. He was 37th in Mexico, 14th in the Arnold Palmer and 43rd last week in Houston. He’s won eight tournaments over his career, but no majors. It’s got to happen someday, right? Sergio Garcia did it last season, so maybe it’s finally Fowler’s turn. He was 11th in last year’s Masters. You can tell by the Westgate’s short odds that he’s respected. Look for a good weekend out of him.
Jon Rahm (18/1): The Spaniard and former ASU star is ranked No. 3 and won his fourth career tournament earlier this season. He’s had only 48 career starts and 20 of them have been top-10 finishes. However, he doesn’t have any top-10s in his last five, with his best over that span happening in Phoenix (11th). This is a great break-out spot for him and because of recent struggles, he’s priced attractively in odds to win and matchups.
Rory McIlroy (10/1): The four time major winner will be looking for his first green jacket and although he’s missed the cut twice this season, he’s got a recent win in the Arnold Palmer. The Irishman has 22 career wins and is ranked No. 7 in the world.
Phil Mickelson (16/1): Just like Tiger, Mickelson hadn’t won a tournament since 2013 until winning in Mexico, which was the 46th career win for the former ASU star. Leading up to that win he was runner-up at Pebble Beach and fifth at Phoenix. He’s got three green jackets, the last coming in 2010. Tiger versus Phil again? I love it. I want it. I need it.
Paul Casey (16/1): This is another golfer Jeff Sherman talked about as a possible winner, which makes him an auto-play for me. The Englishman and former ASU star won the Valspar Championship last month, his 16th career win. He was sixth in the 2017 Masters.
Bubba Watson (16/1): His only two major wins came at Augusta National (2010, 2012), which is fitting for the former Georgia Bulldog. He has 12 career wins with two of them coming this season in the Genesis Open and the WGC Dell Tech Match Play. That’s two wins between his last four starts and he loves this course. Yes, the dude is in great form right now.
Charl Schwartzel (125/1): The South African is ranked No. 59 and has 15 career wins with his only major win coming at Augusta National in 2011. He’s been 36th or worse in past five tournaments, which explains the high odds, but he loves this course. He finished third in last year’s Masters.
Dustin Johnson (10/1): He’s the world No. 1. He’s a badass with 17 career wins, the last of which came in the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January. He was also tied for second at Pebble Beach.
The best spot to watch the golf this weekend with sound amped up is at the Westgate Superbook with its massive HD screens that display the greens better than you’ve ever seen it.
You can almost smell the greens from your seat. Westgate will also have updated odds and matchups after each round and if the final round is close they’ll have in-progress wagering Sunday.