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Did Tiger Woods’ PNC Championship Announcement Impact His Odds?

Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com

Dan Kilbridge  | 5 mins

Did Tiger Woods’ PNC Championship Announcement Impact His Odds?

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With new second-stream gambling options, robust live offerings and a number of PGA Tour stops in legal wagering states, a growing golf betting market was missing just one key piece in 2021 – Tiger Woods.

Woods is the most influential figure in the game and alters the intensity and scale of bets more than any athlete in the world in their particular sport. But a life-threatening February car crash put Woods’ future in serious doubt and sidelined him for the entire year. Many openly predicted he’d never play again due to injuries sustained – Woods recently said amputation was a possibility after suffering a fractured tibia and fibula in his right leg.

Flash forward 10 months and Woods is back in the public eye, set to return to competition at next week’s PNC Championship in Orlando alongside 12-year-old son, Charlie Woods. This is far earlier than anyone expected in terms of recovery, and it often seems Woods is simply operating in a different space-time continuum than the rest of us.

Woods’ odds for the next four majors went up a week ago when he indicated a limited playing schedule, and those numbers were unchanged by the announcement. They will be watching him next week, just like golf fans.

No Woods Odds For PNC Championship

Legal sportsbooks won’t take bets on the annual parent-child exhibition featuring past and present pros from the PGA, LPGA and Champions Tour with their offspring. But the fact that Woods is committed to tee it up in a publicly televised event means he is almost certainly in the planning stages for a limited 2022 schedule – likely leading to a record-setting year for golf betting in legal states across the country. They are already

Woods’ prowess on the course and odds sheets is legendary – he was often a pick ‘em vs. the field in his prime, which is absolutely insane considering “the field’ consisted of more than 130 perfectly capable professional golfers. Odds like that are gone, but Woods is always at or near the top of the board when healthy even as he approaches his 46 birthday.

Sportsbooks did post golf odds for Woods in recent months in some majors, though at that time it was still uncertain if he’d ever play a tournament again – much less the first major of the year at Augusta National.

Woods is currently +4200 at {FanDuel to win his sixth Masters in April, well behind favorites like Jon Rahm (+900) and Jordan Spieth (+1100) but firmly in the upper-tier ahead of other past champions like Sergio Garcia, (+6500), Bubba Watson (+6500) and Phil Mickelson (+10000).

Elsewhere, Woods is +5000 at betting sites for the remaining three majors in the PGA Championship, U.S. Open and British Open, including at Caesars Sportsbook, which is offering a $1,001 first-bet match for new bettors using the Caesars Sportsbook promo code. Aside from the Masters, the 150th British Open at St. Andrews had to serve as massive motivation throughout the rehab process considering Woods won two of his three claret jugs at the Old Course.

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Why Didn’t Woods’ Majors Odds Change?

Those majors odds didn’t change after Woods committed to the PNC in Orlando. Sportsbooks likely caught early word of his progress and felt confident enough to post the odds. We’ll see if his performance next week at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club is enough to swing the odds in either direction.

This obviously isn’t a standard tournament – the parent/child pairings select the best tee shot to play for each hole in a modified shamble format, and Woods might not have to hit driver much at all. The biggest takeaway is simply that he feels good enough to swing a club less than a year after suffering traumatic injuries in the crash.

Keep in mind this isn’t even close to the first time Woods has returned to defy the odds at sportsbooks. His career was written off most recently in 2017 when he had spinal fusion surgery as somewhat of a Hail Mary attempt to alleviate the chronic back pain that plagued him for years. His 2018 comeback sent the golf betting world into a year-long frenzy and he won the Tour Championship in dramatic fashion at +1200 odds later that summer. He was near the top of the board again the following spring at the Masters when he ended a 10-year drought with career major No. 15 at +1200 odds.

Woods went off at +2500 for his first post-spinal fusion start at the 2018 Farmers Insurance Open – remarkably short odds for someone who hadn’t played a Tour event in more than a year. That’s the nature of the business for golf oddsmakers, who must consider the massive cash flow coming in on Woods every time he tees it up – regardless of form.

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What Could Come Next For Woods?

If all goes well at the PNC, Woods could do the same thing and return to competition in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, where he’s has already won eight times. The major odds suggest he might be around +2500 again if he makes his season debut at a regular Tour event.

Regardless of how the PNC shakes out, we already know two important truths – the fact that Woods recovered quickly enough just to enter an exhibition 10 months after the injury is nothing short of incredible. And even if he plays a very limited schedule with only a handful of non-major starts, we know the golf betting action is set to pop off at sportsbooks across the country with the return of the GOAT in 2022, including at what will be newly launched New York sports betting sites.

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About the Author

Dan Kilbridge for Bookies.com
Dan Kilbridge
Handicapper Dan Kilbridge writes about college football, MLB and other sports for Bookies.com after spending three years covering Tiger Woods’ comeback and the PGA for Golfweek.