David Caraviello for Bookies.com

By David Caraviello | | 3 mins

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Despite Struggles, Tiger Woods Among 2020 Majors Favorites

Despite Struggles, Tiger Woods Among 2020 Majors Favorites
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The real Tiger Woods resurfaced at Royal Portrush on Friday, carding four birdies through his first 11 holes and finishing at 1-under par. But it was too little too late to undo the damage caused by his disastrous first-round 78, and the world’s most popular player missed the cut in the British Open for just the third time in his career.

For Woods, it was a disappointing finish to a 2019 majors season that began with so much promise—an emotional victory at the Masters in April that marked his first major victory in over a decade. Since then, though, it’s been a rocky road for Woods in golf’s biggest events: a missed cut at the PGA Championship in May, early struggles in the U.S. Open in June that left him well off the pace, and now another missed cut, this on a links course that typically befits his big-hitting style.

Tiger's Woes Don't Shift Odds

Woods was one of the golf betting favorites entering the British Open, carrying +1800 odds to win and +225 to finish inside the top 10. (He was also +280 to miss the cut, which paid off for those who took it). By finishing at 6-over and leaving Royal Portrush early, Woods missed two major cuts in the same season for just the second time in his career—the other being his injury-ravaged 2015 campaign, when he trunk-slammed in three.

And yet, his major struggles since the Masters haven’t seemed to dim the enthusiasm for Woods among odds makers, who know his popularity makes him a frequent choice at the betting window. Friday, Woods remained the favorite for the 2020 Masters at PointsBet, his +900 odds ahead of the +1000 of Dustin Johnson. And 888 Sport had Woods as the No. 2 odds choice for the Masters, his +900 odds behind only Brooks Koepka at +800.

Those odds might be understandable, given how Augusta National fits Woods’ game, and how the Masters’ position on the calendar in April affords in plenty of off time beforehand. But even in the other 2020 majors, Woods still factored among the favorites. For the PGA Championship at Harding Park, Woods and Koepka are the co-favorites at +800, according to 888 Sport. The same book has Woods as the No. 4 choice for the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, his +1400 odds behind the +800 of Koepka, +900 of Rory McIlroy and +1000 of Johnson.

PointsBet has Woods as the No. 4 choice for both the PGA Championship and U.S. Open, carrying +1200 odds in each case. FanDuel has Woods as its No. 2 choice for the Masters at +950 (behind Koepka at +900), and the No. 4 odds choice for the 2020 PGA Championship at +1300.

Tiger's Trend

For Woods to deliver payouts on any of those 2020 major odds, he’d have to reverse a disturbing trend. Between debuting as a pro in 1997 and the end of the 2013 season, he missed the cut just three times in majors. Friday at Royal Portrush marked his seventh missed cut in his last 13 major appearances. While some of those came as he battled back problems, the more recent may reflect Woods adjusting to his reality as a 43-year-old player in a sport overrun by young guns.

“I'm just not moving well," he told reporters after his opening-round 78. "It's just the way it is. It's just father time and some procedures I've had over time. It's just the way it's going to be."