Sunday was a very good day for Tiger Woods, who won the Masters for the first time in 14 years, his first major tournament win in 11 years.
It was also a great day for the daring bettors who placed a wager on Woods winning it all at Augusta National. But that also means that it was not a great day for bookmakers across the land, who had to pay out all those Woods bets.
One sportsbook that felt it the most was William Hill U.S. in Las Vegas. In the days before the Masters, someone placed an $85,000 bet on Woods donning the green jacket. Nick Bogdanovich, the director of trading, had to call his boss to clear the bet, which was the largest golf bet in the company’s history. He got the nod, and the money was laid down at 14-1 odds.
The payout for that bet? $1.19 million. And William Hill U.S. is feeling it. Here’s part of their statement about the payout, via ESPN:
“It's great to see Tiger back. It's a painful day for William Hill — our biggest loss ever — but a great day for golf.”
It was the first time that individual had placed a bet at William Hill U.S., and Bogdanovich summed it up perfectly: “Pretty good first bet.”
ESPN reported that Sunday’s $1.19 million payout was just the fourth six figure payout in the history of William Hill U.S. And other sportsbooks are feeling the pain of Woods’ win. The SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas had a net loss in the high six-figure range, which will almost certainly be their largest loss on a golf event ever. ESPN also reported that an offshore sportsbook posted its biggest loss ever, eclipsing not just golf but also the Super Bowl.
The attitude of sportsbooks leading up to Woods’ come-from-behind win can be summed up by Matthew Primeaux, senior vice president of strategy and operations for BetStars. BetStars ran a promotion allowing people to bet $10 on Woods at 100-1 odds, and that contributed to an overall $360,000 loss, the largest in BetStars’ history. Here’s what Primeaux told ESPN:
"I believe my direct quote was, 'Guys, there's no way Tiger is winning this tournament.' Whoops."
“Whoops” is right.
Of course, sportsbooks losing on Woods bets means bettors came out big. But this win almost guarantees that Woods won’t have odds as long as 14-1 again. Because he’s not an underdog anymore. Woods is back.
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