The absence of Tiger Woods is reflected not only on TV ratings but also in online sportsbook odds. That’s why the news that Tiger is taking full swings at Medalist Golf Club -broken by Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte and confirmed by Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg- has been enough to automatically turn the 14-time champion into the odds-on favorite to win the 2014 British Open, which starts in one month at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Merseyside England.
The top ten favorites are the following:
Conversely, the bottom ten includes:
Bo van Pelt
Gonzalo Fernandez Castaño
McIlroy has not been too hot as of late, but making him second best to a Tiger Woods who has been out of action with a back injury since March, and who hasn’t even confirmed -or even hinted at-his participation in the British Open seems a bit harsh, doesn’t it? Then again, it is a testament to the legacy of Woods and the indelible impact he still has on the sport. However, that doesn’t change the fact that sportsbook pundits may be reading too much into Tiger grabbing a golf club and taking a few swings; it would be like saying that Michael Schumacher is ready to get back behind the wheel. Actually, it’s not like that at all, but you get the idea.
Still, until there is an official announcement let’s chalk this up to the wishful thinking of fans, bettors, and of course, television executives. While we are all wishing Tiger a speedy recovery and hope to see him back in competition soon, it’s best for all -but mainly for him- if he takes his time and returns only when he’s ready. After all, he certainly doesn’t need the money.