Woods the favorite for Masters with British bookies
Barely an hour after the announcement Tuesday that Woods will make his return at Augusta National next month, the British bookmaker William Hill installed him the 4-1 favorite. Phil Mickelson is second at 6-1, followed by Padraig Harrington at 16-1.
Hill also lists Woods as 1-20 to make the cut at the Masters. He is 25-1 to win all four majors this year.
“All the major courses are Tiger’s favorites, so despite a terrible beginning we think that 2010 will end up being terrific for Tiger,” William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said in a statement.
Woods has not played competitively since crashing his car into a tree outside his Florida home, setting off revelations he had been cheating on his wife.
“We’re pleased to hear that Tiger is to return to golf,” Royal & Ancient Golf Club spokesman Malcolm Booth said. “Golf needs the world No. 1 to be playing.”
The Royal & Ancient, golf’s governing body sport outside the United States, hopes Woods will play at the British Open in July.
Woods has not yet entered to play at the British Open at St. Andrews, but has until May 27 to send his entry form. Booth said it’s “normal” that he hasn’t entered yet.
“Typically, we would receive entries within a few weeks of that deadline,” Booth said, noting several players from the “exempt field” of former champions have already sent their forms.
The Masters begins April 8.
Woods has won 14 majors, including four Masters titles and three British Opens – two of them at St. Andrews, Scotland. The British Open is July 15-18.
“We’d always want the world No. 1 to return to the Open championship,” Booth said. “He could be the first to win three times at St. Andrews, and it would be back-to-back. No one’s ever won three at St. Andrews.”
English golfer Ross Fisher was driving to this week’s Transitions Championship in Florida when he heard the news of Woods’ plan to return at the Masters.
“It’s going to be very interesting now to see what happens at Augusta,” Fisher said. “But I thought he might have come back a bit earlier at either the Tavistock Cup or Bay Hill to get some golf in. Still it’s going to be very exciting.”
Fisher said the atmosphere had not been the same at the recent Accenture and CA Championship without Woods in the field for the first two big-money tournaments of 2010.
“There is always an extra element when you have the best golfer in the world taking part,” Fisher said. “But the best news now is that he is coming back.”
Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship
Tiger Woods is looking to close his season with a win at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him this week at East Lake Golf Club.
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Watch: Highlights from Tiger's first round at East Lake
Tiger Woods is back at the season-ending Tour Championship for the first time since 2013, and he provided the fans in Atlanta with some highlights on the first day of competition.
Still looking for his first win of the year after coming close on numerous occasions, Woods started the day off by splitting the fairway on the first hole with the driver, not even bothering to watch his ball land.
Despite the picture-perfect opening tee shot, Woods would go on to bogey the first hole, but he rebounded with back-to-back birdies on 5 and 6, making putts from 26 and 15 feet.
Tiger's best shot on the front nine came on the par-4 seventh hole after he found the pine straw behind a tree with his drive. The 14-time major champ punched one under the tree limbs and onto the green, then calmly two-putted for par from about 40 feet en route to a front-side 1-under 34.
Woods added two more birdies on the par-4 12th and 14th holes, rolling in putts of 3 feet and 7 feet after a couple of great looking approach shots.
Garcia (66) peaking for Ryder Cup?
Sergio Garcia might be finding his form just in time to terrorize the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Garcia made seven birdies during an opening round of 5-under 66 to sit just two shots off the early lead at the European Tour’s Portugal Masters.
It was Garcia’s fifth consecutive round of par or better, a stretch that includes rounds of 66-65-67-70-66. That solid play at the Wyndham Championship wasn’t enough to extend his PGA Tour season – he didn’t qualify for the FedExCup playoffs – but the Spaniard is starting to round into form with the Ryder Cup on deck.
A few weeks ago he was a controversial selection by European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn. After missing the cut in all four majors, Garcia could have been left at home in favor of such players as Rafa Cabrera Bello, Matt Wallace (a three-time winner this season who, once again, is at the top of the leaderboard in Portugal), Matt Fitzpatrick or Thomas Pieters. But Bjorn tabbed Garcia, noting his Ryder Cup experience, his sterling foursomes record and his influence in the team room. If Phil Mickelson is the U.S. player under the most pressure to perform in Paris, all eyes will be on Garcia next week – especially since it could be one of his final opportunities to wear a European uniform, as he’ll be 40 for the 2020 matches.
Garcia’s 66 matched his lowest opening round of the year and puts him in position to secure just his second top-10 since March.
Watch: 100mph storm destroys tent at St. Andrews
The first named storm of the season struck Wednesday, bringing 100 mph gusts, killing two people and leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power in parts of Ireland, Scotland and England.
According to the Courier no one was injured in the St. Andrews area, but a video posted from the home of golf shows just how powerful the storm was as wind absolutely destroyed one of the hospitality tents set up in advance of the Dunhill Links Championship:
TAKE CARE – ST ANDREWS OLD COURSE AREA— Fife Police (@FifePolice) September 19, 2018
Police in Fife are asking the public to take care around St Andrews Old Course after reports of tents from the Alfred Dunhill Links Championships site being blown about. #stormy #stormAli #staysafe
While plenty of clean-up is sure to be needed, officials say the Dunhill Links, which also be conducted at Carnoustie and Kingsbarns, will go on as scheduled October 4-7.