Tiger Woods is currently the overwhelming favorite to win this week's British Open. Bodog, for instance, has him going off at 5/1 odds. In other words, you bet $1 to win $5. We do not promote gambling here on this site, but we will say this: If you're interested in laying down some coin on Tiger, might we recommend you spend your cash on something of more value? Like, say, BP stock or LeBron James Cleveland jerseys? Or, hey, just send it straight to us. Better return on your money, guaranteed.*
Looking at this from a strictly past-performance standpoint, it seems like a safe bet. First off, Woods won the last time the Open made its way to St. Andrews. Second, although everyone seems to forget this, Woods has tied for fourth at the first two majors of the season. Were it anybody else, we'd be talking about how astonishing a run this guy is having and how he's this close to breaking through.
But anybody who thinks that Tiger is a prohibitive favorite — the next-closest golfers are Phil Mickelson and, of all people, Rory McIlroy at 16/1 — is flat-out insane. Sure, Woods could win — he's one of the few guys who's a threat at every single tournament he enters. But considering how he's been playing of late, including a debacle at an Irish pro-am, betting on Woods would be — how best to politely put this? — totally freaking insane.
Indeed, you can get a good idea of what the oddsmakers think of the betting public by observing the lines. Woods is a familiar name, and thus the people with a few spare bucks to blow are going to lay it on him. Likewise Mickelson and McIlroy. Beyond that, Ernie Els and Lee Westwood are the only guys who come in at under 20/1. In other words, this Open is wide, uh, open.
Let's be honest — Tiger will win again, and he will win an awful lot. But expecting him to do so this weekend at St. Andrews is like expecting the BCS will institute a national championship playoff or FIFA will crack down on incompetent refs — it could happen, but you probably shouldn't bet on it.
* — Technically, we probably can't accept your money. But we're willing to test the bounds of legality if you are. Small, unmarked bills. Leave 'em in a grocery bag at that bench by the bus stop.