Tiger Woods Futures Bet to Make After Genesis Invitational First Round
Via Michael Owens/Getty Images. Pictured: Tiger Woods of the United States plays his shot on the second hole during the first round of the The Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club on February 16, 2023 in Pacific Palisades, California.
Tiger Woods played his first round on the PGA TOUR since October 2020, and he did not disappoint.
After being priced around -200 to miss the cut entering Thursday, Woods shot a two-under 69 in the first-round as he shook off the rust and dealt with right ankle pain. He mentioned his ankle was hurting more at the end of the round, but Woods was also on the move at the end of his first round as he closed with birdies on 16, 17 and 18 to move from +1 to -2 and a tie for 27th.
Woods’ first round was better than oddsmakers expected, but his odds barely budged at FanDuel, where he went from +12000 to +10000 to win the Genesis Invitational. He’s five strokes behind Max Homa (+470) and Keith Mitchell (+1200) at seven-under, while Jon Rahm (+300) is the favorite at six-under.
The big question entering Friday is how Woods’ ankle will hold up on relatively short rest when he tees off at 7:24 a.m. PT. In his post-round interview, Woods explained that his swelling was less than what it has been, but that he will continue to ice his right ankle heavily before the second round. With temperatures expected to be around 45 degrees at 7 a.m. PT, we’ll have to see how his ankle reacts in cold weather.
How to Bet Tiger Woods Moving Forward
Woods outdrove Rory McIlroy and hit wedges inside of Justin Thomas multiple times, giving everyone flashbacks of his game before numerous crippling injuries.
But how does that impact how we should bet Woods this weekend and moving forward?
I was very encouraged after Woods hit bombs off the tee, impressed with pin-seeking approach shots, showed off his deft touch around the greens and even rolled in a 23-footer while making every putt inside of eight feet. If I knew he was healthy, I’d hit him to win the tournament at 100-1 at FanDuel, but the ankle concerns, and the pair of scorching hot players at the top of the board, Max Homa and Jon Rahm, give me hesitation and make this a no-bet.
However, Woods’ right leg’s injury progression from his last competitive start in July at the Open Championship give me reason for optimism moving forward. He showed glimpses of being the best player ever today, and shaking off some rust this week will help Woods moving forward into the majors.
I’m eying a play on Woods at the U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club (North Course) as the relatively flat layout and warmer summer temperatures should help his ankle. Woods was seen scouting LACC earlier this week.
Tiger Woods had a look at this year's US Open venue yesterday… https://t.co/eq6oGibk9Y
— Golf Monthly (@GolfMonthly) February 14, 2023
Additionally, his price for the U.S. Open outright is juicier at +7500 than his odds at the Masters at +5500, where we know of his vast success — though there is significantly more undulation to traverse. Additionally, Rahm’s current heater is less likely to be as scorching hot in July.
LACC, like Riviera, was designed by George Thomas and will feature firm and fast greens with challenging runoff areas and bunkers. With Woods’ incredibly deep bag of shots, which includes flighting the ball higher and softer when needed, he figures to be as competitive as some of the best players on TOUR in firm and fast conditions if physically able.
Woods showed glimpses of every shot in the bag in his first round at Riviera. The question will be if his leg holds up and how long he takes to shake off the competitive rust.
It’s worth at least a sprinkle at +7500 (I’d go as low as +6000) that the best player ever (and also the player with the highest ceiling ever) can put four rounds together at such long odds after showing significant progression in form at the Genesis Invitational, especially after showing us his resiliency by winning the 2019 Masters and the 2008 U.S. Open on one leg.
Pick: Tiger Woods to Win the US Open +7500
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