At some point in the future, Tiger Woods will no longer be on the golf course participating in a Professional Golfers’ Association-sanctioned event. You will more than likely know the very day that this happens because the audible screams of television executives at CBS, NBC and ESPN will be so deafening they will shatter glass from one coast to the other.
Before Eldrick ‘Tiger’ Woods showed up on the scene in 1996, professional golf had always been seen as one of those ‘fringe’ sports. There was no way that golf would ever overtake such monsters like football, baseball and basketball even when one of the four major tournaments rolled around. Yes, the numbers would jump a bit, but they would still never make the PGA a serious contender.
Prior to 2011, 19 of the PGA’s 20 all-time most-viewed events had a guy name Tiger Woods in the field. For a long time, experts had a name for the phenomenon simply titled ‘2.0.’ That number refers to the low-end of the amount of swing Woods presence can have on golf television viewing.
Perhaps just as importantly is the impact that Tiger has had on golf wagering. In 2012, Woods won his final tournament in preparation for the Masters’ that year. What that win did was create a record-setting frenzy in the golf betting world.
That win also happened to have been his first since his off-course issues leading many to believe that he was in fact “back” and had grabbed the form that had won him 14 major titles. He was immediately installed as an 11/2 favorite to win with Rory McIlroy behind him at 9/2.
- Wagering on golf could get a bost from a McIlroy rivalry with Tiger.
Woods of course did not win that Masters and has still not won a major since his ‘break’ from golf in 2010. That has not stopped the sportsbooks and internet sites from seeing strong traffic however when it comes to Woods’ being in a tournament.
Look at it this way, whatever the rise or fall in television ratings is for tournaments that Tiger plays/doesn’t play in, then you can safely assume the wagering on those tournaments rises or falls on a similar track. This holds true with very few exceptions. Last year at this time, many thought Rory McIlroy was going to become Tiger’s chief rival which would have certainly given sportsbooks ample reason enough to keep pushing solid wagers on professional golf.
What is also interesting is when you have one of the rare weekends like we had the one past. Woods was basically out of contention after day one, but still made the cut. He then turned in a couple of miserable performances on Saturday and Sunday leaving the television networks scrambling to make uninteresting leaderboards attractive. By the time Matt Kuchar won the Memorial Tournament, Tiger was more than likely flying at 33,000 feet on his return trip home.
Despite his second worst four-round total as a professional (296), Woods will enter the US Open at Merion Golf Course in Pennsylvania as a prohibitive favorite. With most most oddsmakers releasing their odds today, Woods leads the way as a 7/2 favorite. McIlroy is next at 16/1while Masters’ Champion Adam Scott is listed as 20/1.
It’s a credit to Woods past history that he is still revered the way he is in sportsbooks throughout Europe and the United States despite the fact he has never gained the dominant form he had several years ago. Yes he has won several tournaments but he has not won going away like he was accustomed to doing. Still, do you bet against him going into the US Open? For me it’s pretty simple. Until he proves he can win a major again, I keep betting against him.