Fit for a Tiger

April 16, 2002 10:32 AM
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When Tiger Woods wins, so do the bettors.

“Most people bet Tiger,” said Eddie Ricca, race and sports book manager at the Suncoast. “We had a brisk handle. The Masters is the biggest event in golf and it came up in the nick of time for us.”

The Masters provided a nice volume in what would have been a slow weekend with baseball just starting and both the NBA and NHL gearing up from postseason play later this week.

“It definitely helps being located in Summerlin, where there are so many wonderful golf courses and a lot of interest,” Ricca said. “With all the marketing, Tiger is well exposed. He has drawn a lot of the younger players into the game. People tend to bet Tiger because he is familiar to them.”

Woods opened at 3-1 in most casinos, including Suncoast, and was bet down to 2-1. That type of price is unheard of for anyone in golf except Tiger. For example, Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened Phil Mickelson at 6-1 for this week’s PGA Tour event at Hilton Head, S.C. You can bet most of the other top players at 10-1 or more.

“I don’t think the interest will be as great for the Heritage,” Ricca said. “However, I do think the betting will be spread out more and it will be a more interesting event from that standpoint. The volume will be a tad lower, but I don’t think the dropoff will be that much.”

On Sunday’s final day of The Masters, there were 10 different individual matchups offered at the Suncoast.