The U.S. News and World Report quoted a chief market strategist for J.P. Morgan as saying it would be a slow week on Wall Street because Tiger Woods playing in the Masters would be a distraction.
If Tiger does indeed affect the stock market, you can imagine the intimidation factor on the golf course. And, Woods answered a lot of questions by winning in grand style two weeks ago at Orlando’s Bay Hill, his personal playing ground east of Torrey Pines.
Woods is the big favorite to win the Masters, opening early this week at 11-5 at the Hilton. Last year’s Masters champ Trevor Immelman is 100-1. Where’s the love?
Phil Mickelson at 8-1 is the only other golfer in single digits. The Masters brings back the greats as is tradition so bettors can take a chance on Tom Watson at 2000-1, Mark O’Meara at 1000-1, Bernhard Langer at 300-1, Greg Norman at 200-1 or Jose Maria Olazabal at 150-1. Norman played quite well last week at Houston as did Fred Couples, who is at 80-1.
Rocco Mediate, runnerup to Woods in the famed U.S. Open playoff last year, is 250-1. Mediate usually plays well in majors, but there’s always his nagging back to consider.
Foreigners have done well over the years at the Masters, so it may be a good play on Paul Casey (30-1), last week’s winner at Houston, young phenom Rory McIlroy (25-1) or the charismatic Camilo Villegas (40-1).
There’s always Anthony Kim at 30-1, who many have waited for an anticipated showdown with Woods. Padraig Harrington at 15-1 comes off victories in the last two majors (British Open, PGA), but Australian Geoff Ogilvy (15-1) could well be the best international golfer at the moment.
And there’s always Sergio Garcia, who has this "best player never to win a major" tag on him until he does. We’ll throw another golfer into the mix that will be under the radar – Nick Watney. He’s arguably been among the four best golfers on the PGA Tour so far along with Woods, Mickelson and Ogilvy. And then there’s Zach Johnson, who won the Masters two years ago and finished third to Tiger at Bay Hill.
But as it is every year, the story of the Masters is Augusta National. Will it play easy or hard? Will the par 5’s be played aggressively or not? Will the winner of the par 3 tourney win the Masters? That’s never happened.
Which is probably why Woods never plays in the par 3 event. And if you want to follow Tiger through his opening round, Lucky’s Race and Sports Book (locally at Plaza and Terrible’s) has a treat. You can wager on how Woods will do on each hole (1-18), whether he pars or posts another score. Of course par is the overwhelming favorite ranging from -220 to -500.
But, you know Tiger won’t par every hole.
And there are props for how Woods does over the four rounds, assuming he does make the cut.
The over / unders listed on Woods at Lucky’s for the four rounds are:
eagles: 1½ (ov +160, un -190)
pars: 51½ (ov -125, un -105)
birdies: 11½ (ov +105, un -135)
bogeys: 8½ (ov EVEN, un -130).