Sergio Garcia was right when he said Tiger Woods is like Big
Brown--he stays the favorite even when he’s not 100 percent.
Like Big Brown’s injured hoof, Tiger Woods’ surgically
repaired knee hasn’t scared away many gamblers. Caesar’s Palace still has Woods
at the top of the board despite the fact that he’s not played competitively
since the Masters, according to Chuck Esposito, Assistant Vice President Race
and Sports at Caesar's Palace, Las
Woods was an even-money bet when the
odds were posted two months ago. Since then he’s dropped margially to 6 to 5
odds, meaning a $5 bet wins you $6, not a great payday considering he’s up
against 155 other players.
By comparison, Phil Mickelson looks like a value at 7
to 1. Rounding out the favorites are the
usual suspects: Jim Furyk (10 to 1), Adam Scott (10 to 1), Sergio Garcia (12 to
1). After that Padraig Harrington and Vijay Singh are 18 to 1, and everyone
else is a certifiable long shot (20 to 1 or longer). Not that U.S. Open long
shots are bad bets; a $10 bet on 2007 U.S. Open champ Angel Cabrera last year
paid out $1,250.
Esposito compared the growth in golf wagering to the
increase in wagers on NASCAR. And like NASCAR’s Daytona 500, Esposito said golf’s
first major is its biggest in terms of gambling.
“Nothing compares to the Masters,” Esposito said. “But we’ll
have a great crowd for the final round of the U.S. Open on Sunday.”
He said he expects the industry-wide total wagering on the
U.S. Open this week to be in the “six figures.” By comparison, Las Vegas gamblers will bet millions on the
NBA Finals, Esposito said.