Farmers Insurance Open: What We Learned About Betting Tiger, PGA
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Tiger Woods’ final round at the Farmers Insurance Open wasn’t flashy. He was able to grind out an even par 72 despite battling U.S. Open conditions at Torrey Pines. Woods finished tied for 23rd place.
We learned that Woods has his short game dialed in. He put himself in a lot of trouble with the driver and on his approach shots, but his chipping and putting rarely let him down throughout the tournament.
In the final round, he was able to get the irons on target and hit 12 greens. Tiger was never the most accurate off the tee even in his prime, and it’s clear that part of his game will need to improve before he’ll truly contend. Overall, though, we learned Woods is more than capable of competing on the courses where he’s had success.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 28, 2018
Now that we know he’s back and healthy, let’s look ahead to see where we can potentially take advantage of his odds.
The obvious spot is the Masters. He’s currently in the 18/20-1 range, depending on the book. I can not recommend backing him to win the tournament in the same price range as Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama and Justin Rose. He’s not in the same class as those guys yet.
I did learn this weekend that betting against Tiger in head-to-heads probably isn’t the best idea. He showed that he will grind out rounds, even when his swing isn’t in great shape. We saw that on Sunday with his head-to-head matchup against Patrick Cantlay. Upper/mid-tier pros will get the ball around as good or better than Woods. But when out of contention, they may check out, as Cantlay did. He missed every putt outside of 5 feet and clearly lost focus on the greens. Meanwhile, Woods grinded out every par putt. I will look to back Woods as a small favorite or underdog in these type of matchups in the future.
If you’re hellbent on betting Woods at Augusta, I’d look at juicing the odds with a parlay to get it more in line with his actual chances of winning the tournament. This is a popular strategy in the golf betting community. You find a game you’re betting anyway, like the Super Bowl, for instance, and instead of throwing down everything on the Pats or Eagles, you drop 80% of your normal bet on the game and parlay the other 20 percent with Tiger. If you lose, it’s a bet you’d have lost anyway. If you win, you still get a decent payout and you have a ticket on Tiger in the 35/40-1 range. In golf, it’s tough to back favorites at their prices, because they’re rarely in line with their win rates. This is a way many have found to work around it in spots to get a big name on the betting card and still fit some mid-range or long-shot guys.
Joshua has spent the last five years writing about sports and the last 10 years betting them, mostly on golf. He’s one of approximately five people who will watch the PGA over the NFL in November. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaPerry22