Eighteen players will tee off Thursday in the Hero World Challenge, and it’s a must-see event only because Tiger Woods is the longest shot on the odds board.
Dustin Johnson is the 9-2 favorite, followed by Jordan Spieth and several other big-name golfers. It’s Woods’ return from a 15-month absence that makes the tournament in the Bahamas such a big story this week.
“I’m obviously not expecting too much out of Tiger,” Westgate golf oddsmaker Jeff Sherman said.
Woods, a 14-time major winner and a dominant favorite in the distant past, is the underdog in the field at 40-1 odds. He has not won a tournament in more than three years, with multiple back and knee surgeries leading to long stretches of poor play and sagging confidence.
Sherman said six tickets were written on Woods to win as of Wednesday morning at the Westgate. That’s not much, but it made Woods the early leader in the ticket count in a lightly wagered tournament.
The Westgate posted some propositions on Woods’ performance this week, including his first-round score (72½). Bettors pushed the “over” price from minus-110 to minus-140.
— Will Woods finish in the top 10? (No minus-240; Yes plus-200).
— Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? (No minus-360; Yes plus-300).
Sherman said if Woods is “embarrassing himself” with errant shots and high scores, don’t be shocked if the 40-year-old bails out at some point. There is no cut this week, so there’s no mercy.
“If he’s shooting really poorly,” Sherman said, “the withdrawal could come into play with the excuse to follow.”
How far has Woods fallen? If he finishes any higher than last, it could be considered a positive start to his season.
Contact sports betting reporter Matt Youmans at email@example.com or 702-387-2907. Follow @mattyoumans247 on Twitter.