No one moves the needle quite like Tiger Woods.
The Masters is always going to have a large audience and sports betting handle, but those numbers are massively inflated when Woods is in the field. Several months ago, it seemed unlikely that the 46-year-old was going to be anywhere close to ready for this year’s tournament at Augusta National.
He was, in fact, recovering from a brutal car wreck that nearly led to a leg amputation just last February. Woods has had a remarkably quick recovery though, culminating with several strong practice rounds earlier this week.
Las-Vegas based sportsbook Circa Sports posted odds on March 30 regarding whether Woods would play in the Masters, listing the number at close to a pick’em. The odds quickly ballooned to -1000 and then to -2000 before being pulled off the board.
“When we put the prop up we never had the intention of winning it,” Circa sportsbook manager Jeffrey Benson told ESPN. “The goal when you book this stuff is not to get killed.”
The five-time Masters champion is set to tee off on Thursday morning, which will mark his first PGA tournament in 508 days. He has not played since finished in a tie for 38th at the Masters in November of 2020.
“It’s a miraculous thing,” Fred Couples, who played 18 practice holes with Woods this week, said. “Fourteen months ago, I was bawling like a baby every day. And now he looks strong. I know the leg is hurt but he’s driving it with JT (Justin Thomas). He’s hitting it plenty far enough to play this course. He knows what to do.”
If Woods can drive it with Thomas, who is listed as a 12-1 co-favorite to win the tournament at the Westgate SuperBook, that bodes well for his chances. Sportsbooks still aren’t ready to buy in completely, though. Woods is priced at +105 to make the cut and 50-1 to win another green jacket, which is well behind Thomas and Jon Rahm (12-1) at the top of the market.
There’s no denying the attention that Woods is receiving in the betting market, however. The liability on him is seven times greater than any other golfer at PointsBet, according to ESPN’s David Payne Purdum. There is also more than double the money wagered on Woods than any other golfer.
“Tiger winning the Masters would be the worst result for us at any golf tournament since we started operating in the U.S. by far,” PointsBet head of trading Jay Croucher told ESPN.
Caesars Sportsbook is reporting a similar trend. There were only 16 bets separating Woods from Thomas and Scottie Scheffler as of Tuesday afternoon, but the gap widened to over 1,000 tickets by Wednesday.
The SuperBook is offering a variety of props for Woods, including odds to make the cut, finish inside the top 5 (15-1), top 10 (+700) and top 20 (+330).
“Tiger is Tiger,” Couples said. “I said it on Monday that he’s not like a lot of us where I’ve been injured, even at age 35, and I go play just to play. He’s not going to do that. He’s won so many times, and he’s not just a guy to go do something mediocre. He’ll compete and he’ll be ready to roll.”