We’re back in Amen Corner where this year it’s basically a prayer that any golfer can beat Tiger Woods.
At least that’s what the Vegas books say. Seeing 6/5 at Caesars Palace and 7/5 at the Hilton for Woods is silly, yet accurate. Most favorites in golf tournaments are between 8 and 15/1. But Tiger is biblical, like Moses parting the Red Sea. Tiger always wears red come Sunday and hardly ever bleeds.
Watching Tiger is, in effect, see history before your eyes as he tries to catch Nicklaus for most major titles and make a shambles of every golf record ever set. Bobby Jones, Gene Sarazen and Byron Nelson are looking down from heaven and cheering Tiger on his quest.
As we all should when the best is playing the top tournament on the planet. Most of us pulled mightily for Arnie and later for Jack. Now it’s Tiger. Of course, we all enjoy seeing the underdog produce in the enormous pressure of The Masters. And, it’s not like Tiger is that much superior than everyone. In fact, with the rise of the foreign fleet, golf has never been more competitive.
So let’s break down the 2007 Masters golf championship.
Quickly Tiger — a winner twice in four events. Woods has 56 PGA Tour titles in 218 starts — better than a 1-to-4 ratio. Obscene!
Charles Howell III, playing the best golf of his career is 2-for-200. Adam Scott, fifth in the world, is 5-for-95 off his win in Houston.
Henrik Stenson, who has bolted to 6 in the world, is 1-for-18 on the USA circuit. Even Phil Mickelson doesn’t win 10 percent of his PGA starts over his successful career.
Ah, Phil. The memory of the big choke last year. Can Lefty rebound? Absolutely. Just like he can crash another time. This isn’t David Duval, whose game just disappeared as quick as you can say Rick Ankiel and Steve Blass.
There’s always Vijay Singh, the only other player this season with two wins on the PGA Tour. He’s a big guy, but there’s probably a green jacket in his size.
We will throw some others your way as potential longshots.
Steve Stricker has never quite lived up to his potential, but has two top 5 finishes in seven starts.
Trevor Immelman has three top 10s in eight starts and becoming a steady international cash cow.
Tim Clark, 0-for-128 in PGA starts, has done well in the past at Augusta and a nice payoff at 125/1 at the Hilton.
If you really want to go large, try Ben Curtis at 200/1. Ben has played pretty decent golf, even if his major is still considered by many to be a fluke.
Stuart Appleby, off his strong showing last week in Houston, could be worth a $5 wager at a very fine 75/1.
Chris DiMarco, always a factor in majors with his grit, is a pricey 30/1 considering he was a Ryder Cup player.
Stewart Cink, who hits lots of fairways and greens, is 100/1. He’s also a Ryder Cup vet.
Just the fact it’s the Masters is reason enough to hit a 19th hole.