Some people are huge Tiger Woods fans and others root against him. That’s typical with a dominant individual or team in any sport: You either love or hate them. Whichever side of the aisle you land on when it comes to Woods, it can’t be argued that golf is much more interesting to watch and wager on when Tiger is playing. Let’s look at Sports Interaction golf odds on the four Grand Slam tournaments this year regarding Woods and other top players.
Jack Nicklaus vs. Tiger Woods
Of course, the player with the most wins in golf’s four major championships — the Masters, United States Open, British Open and PGA Championship – is the legendary Jack Nicklaus with 18. For a while there, it looked like Woods was going to break that record. At one point, we had the “Tiger Slam” as Woods held all four titles at once (2000 US Open, 2000 British Open, 2000 PGA Championship and 2001 Masters), although not in a calendar year.
The Golden Bear’s first major title was the 1962 U.S. Open at age 22. Tiger’s first was the 1997 Masters at 21. By the end of his age 30 season, Nicklaus had eight major titles. Woods had 12. Nicklaus also won seven majors from age 33 on, with his last that memorable 1986 Masters at age 46. Tiger’s 14th and last Grand Slam tournament win was the 2008 U.S. Open, an epic Monday 19-hole playoff victory over Rocco Mediate when Woods was playing with ligament damage in his knee.
Various injuries, mainly to his knees and back, and some well-noted off-the-course issues have hampered Woods since. He had second a surgery in September 2015 to remove a disc fragment that was pinching his nerve. The surgery and recovery kept Woods sidelined from all official PGA Tour events until last week at the Farmers Insurance Open at San Diego’s Torrey Pines. That’s arguably Woods’ favourite course as he has won a record eight times there, including the 2008 U.S. Open. Alas, Tiger missed the cut in the Farmers after rounds of 76-72.
Woods, who is playing in the Middle East this week, has committed to two upcoming PGA Tour events: the Genesis Open in Los Angeles that starts February 16 and the Honda Classic in south Florida that tees off February 23. He will certainly play all the majors if healthy.
Breaking Down The Majors
On Sports Interaction golf odds, Tiger is +465 to win a major in 2017 and -976 not to. The Masters is held at Augusta National every year and Woods has won that four times, last in 2007. Woods was unable to play in 2016 and ’14 due to injury. He was tied for 17th in 2015. This year’s Masters begins April 6. Tiger is +2000 to win that, with fellow American Jordan Spieth as the +644 favourite. He won in 2015 in record-setting fashion. Spieth should have repeated last year with a big lead but collapsed on the back-nine Sunday.
The U.S. Open is from June 15-18 at Erin Hills in Wisconsin, a beast of a course that will measure nearly 8,000 yards. It’s the first U.S. Open at Erin Hills, which becomes the sixth public course to hold the event. Woods is +2500 to win his fourth U.S. Open title. The favourites at +800 are Jason Day, Rory McIlroy and defending champion Dustin Johnson.
The British Open heads to Royal Birkdale in England from July 20-23. It was last there in 2008 and Irishman Padraig Harrington won. Tiger didn’t play because he had surgery following his U.S. Open win the month before. He is +2500 to take the Claret Jug a fourth time. Day, the world No. 1, is the +800 favourite. Defending champion Henrik Stenson is +1600.
Finally, the PGA Championship visits Quail Hollow from August 10-13. It’s the first time that course in Charlotte, North Carolina, will host the PGA Championship, but the Wells Fargo Championship is played there each year – just not in 2017 to prepare the course for the PGA Championship. Tiger did win that Charlotte PGA Tour stop back in 2007 when it was called the Wachovia Championship. Needless to say, the course has changed quite a bit since then.
Woods is +2500 to win a fifth PGA Championship. McIlroy is the +700 favourite as he has won the Wells Fargo Championship twice, most recently in 2015. McIlroy has the shortest odds on the board at +134 to win any major in 2017.