Robert Walker, who runs the sports book for MGM Mirage Resorts in Las Vegas, used to stop at about 4 to 1 when laying odds on any golfer to win a major. It's golf, after all. There's no predicting a balky putter. Then came the Tiger Slam of 2000-01. "We lost a ton," Walker says. "Low seven figures."
Walker and his fellow oddsmakers wised up — today, Tiger's major odds are closer to 7 to 5 — but that hasn't stopped bettors from bucking up. In fact, Walker says, golf betting is the hottest he has seen it in his 22 years on the job. Woods has elevated major championship golf action to "about that of a good boxing match in this town," Walker says.
In betting-mad Britain, Woods is also a popular wager. "When Tiger doesn't win, it's usually good for us," says Nick Weinberg of British bookmaker Ladbrokes. "Although there are exceptions: the shorter the price on the winner, the worse the result for us. That's even more the case with Tiger. Punters follow him blind."