Watching Tiger Woods on Sunday at Bellerive, fans, media and even his biggest naysayers couldn't help but drink the Tiger kool-aid. Once again, we were seeing the Tiger of old, or maybe something even better, considering the fact the 14-time major winner shot his lowest career 72-hole total score in a major as well as his lowest final round ever in a major. It wasn't a victory, but it was a hopeful signal of more to come in the majors.
Woods' performance was so impressive that even the oddsmakers are buying in. Following the final round of the PGA Championship, BetDSI.com released its odds for the 2019 Masters, with Woods coming in as the second favorite at 12-to-1. It's not quite "Tiger vs. the field" like it was once upon a time, but the fact he's one of the top two favorites to win a major that's seven months away is still remarkable when you factor that Woods looked as though he was done playing competitively not too long ago.
Woods is behind only Jordan Spieth, who is at 10-to-1 to win his fourth career major, and what would be his second green jacket. While it has felt like a lost year for Spieth in 2018, one where he has yet to win a PGA Tour event, it's still not too surprising. He nearly captured the Masters earlier this year with an incredible final-round 64 that could perhaps have been a 62 had not clipped a tree off the tee on the 72nd hole. He also held a share of the 54-hole lead at the Open Championship, but shot a final-round 76 to finish in a tie for ninth. This week, if not for a costly triple bogey on Saturday and an equally crushing double bogey on Sunday, he may have been raising the Wanamaker Trophy instead of Brooks Koepka. Instead, he finished tied for 12th.
Coming in right behind Spieth and Woods at 13-to-1 is Rory McIlroy, who many thought would finish off the career grand slam entering the final round at Augusta this past April. A missed short putt at the par-5 second was the beginning of the end, as McIlroy faded away, carding a two-over 74 to tie for fifth. Two months later he missed the cut at Shinnecock, but he did finish in a tie for second at Carnoustie, nearly coming from behind to win his fifth major.
Dustin Johnson checks in next at 14-to-1, and Justin Thomas right after at 15-to-1. Finally, Brooks Koepka shows up at 16-to-1 as the sixth favorite behind five guys he outlasted this week at Bellerive. That could be because of his record at Augusta, where he's not registered a top-10 in three tries, or it could be the "I get no respect" angle actually is true. More bulletin-board material for the now three-time major winner.
Jon Rahm, who finished solo fourth at the Masters this year and T-4 at the PGA Championship, is 18-to-1 to win his first major next April. Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Justin Rose are 20-to-1. As for defending champion Patrick Reed, he's 30-to-1 to win back-to-back, something that has not been done since Woods accomplished the feat in 2001 and 2002. If Reed pulls it off, he'll join Woods, Nick Faldo and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win the Masters in consecutive seasons. Bubba Watson and Francesco Molinari are also 30-to-1.
As for the long shots, there's plenty of intrigue, with Tommy Fleetwood (40-to-1), Tony Finau (50-to-1) and Patrick Cantlay (66-to-1) among the names to possibly break through for their first major title.