Not Scared of Tiger

Pinnacle has an interesting golf prop on Tiger Woods:

Tiger Woods to Win a Major in 2011

From last weekend’s tournament

Rookie Brendan Steele couldn’t believe what he saw from one of golf’s all-time greats in his first tournament of the year on Sunday. He basically saw Woods, still winless since his infamous Thanksgiving car crash and ensuing public divorce, quit on the course.

“I don’t think he gave it everything today,” Steele told Sports Illustrated following the round at the Farmers Insurance Open. “Once it started going in the wrong direction, I don’t think it had his full attention.”

It just goes to show how far the world’s former No. 1 has fallen.Tiger never used to concede a shot, let alone give up on a back nine or an entire round. And he almost certainly would have never been called out by a rookie several years ago.

The thought of Woods alone used to send rookies cowering back to the clubhouse. His presence would make them wilt.

Now, Tiger’s competition has improved drastically and the once unbeatable aura that surrounded him has vanished. Players are no longer afraid of him on the course and apparently they’re willing to attack him off it as well.

As best I can tell, Tiger has won 14 Majors in 52 appearances starting with his first in at Augusta in 1997. That’s just over 25%. At -127, Pinnacle is basically installing Tiger as +630 on each major. As of right now that’s insane, or at least it would be for any other golfer not named Tiger Woods.

Phil Mickelson is the favorite to win this week’s Phoenix Open at +750 and I can’t imagine that the field in a Major is appreciably easier, nor that Tiger will be playing appreciably better than 90+% of the field in one anytime soon. His scoring average of over 71 since returning to golf in 2010 compares favorably with the likes of Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia and YE Yang. For any of them to receive less than +2500 to win a tournament, regardless of form would be ridiculous.

There was talk on PTI last week over Tiger’s slump and its causes, whether they were more mental or physical. Whatever the cause, there’s been no suggestion of “Old Tiger” returning as yet. The most likely scenario has him back as excellent but not Barry Bonds on steroids at some point and even with that, there’s still value here. Max bet on NO, -1whatever.