Tiger defies all odds, worth wagering at 2-1

Jun 18, 2002 11:46 AM

Tiger Woods was a 2-1 favorite to win the United States Open, which he did. This week, while Tiger celebrates, Open runnerup Phil Mickelson inherits the favorite role at 6-1 for the Greater Hartford Open.

Those are great odds to bet Mickelson, but if Phil were a 2-1 choice my advice would be to avoid him. On the other hand, 2-1 on Woods is a definite green light. No hesitation at all.

The reason is simple. Golfers in the favorites role rarely win and if any player is victorious in more than 10 percent of entered events per year, that’s a good average.

Woods makes a mockery of average.

Tiger has won an unbelievable 32 times in 134 pro events, a ratio of 23.9 percent. His winning percentage for majors since 1997 is astronomical. Woods has won eight majors in just 22 tries (36.3 percent), including a phenomenal seven of his last 11 (63.7 percent).

­­ For betting golf tournaments on the futures, wise money often is wagered on individual matches. Woods was minus $2.20 in his matchup against Mickelson, according to Las Vegas Sports Consultants. From my view, betting Tiger to win the tournament at 2-1 is more profitable than taking him to beat Phil.

I wouldn’t mind 2-1 odds on a baseball game, but 2-1 odds in golf are just not seen. Unless, of course, Tiger is involved. In fact, Woods opened at 9-5 to win the Open.

Woods and NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon, up until this season, would have been a fair comparison in victory percentage. If Gordon ever appeared at odds of 4-1 or higher, he would definitely be worth a $10 wager. Well, the same definitely holds true for Woods at just 2-1.

No other golfer on the planet would ever receive that kind of respect in a Las Vegas book. And, rightly so.

Woods transcends golf, an icon at 26 who will shatter every record in the sport so long as his health and passion for the game allows.

Front-runners usually fall by the wayside in golf tournaments. Not Tiger. He is now 8-0 in majors when leading after three rounds. Tiger has won two majors wire-to-wire, a feat that has been done only six times ever.

Woods has a winning percentage as a career frontrunner of around 90 percent. One of the few negatives in his career was erased when he won for the first time on a par 70 course after eight failures.

Tiger could well be considered a prophet on the Tour, for he is worshipped internationally as the game’s greatest player. In Las Vegas, just change the word to profit. Anytime Tiger is in a tournament, throw out conventional wisdom and bet him.

You can believe the high rollers do. Charles Barkley probably made a mint on him. So if anyone says betting Tiger at 2-1 is crazy, just figure that person is a loser.

Will Tiger win the Grand Slam? No way we’re betting against it.