Tiger Woods is the 5-1 favorite of Las Vegas oddsmakers to end a five-year major championship drought at golf’s U.S. Open after tying for fourth place at the Masters Tournament two days ago.
Woods, 37, finished 5-under par at Augusta National Golf Club, four shots behind winner Adam Scott, after entering the season’s first major as the favorite.
Woods’s Masters appearance may be remembered most for a two-stroke penalty for a rules violation that may have damaged his golfing integrity.
The controversy hasn’t impacted how Woods is regarded among oddsmakers, who make him the heavy favorite to win a fourth U.S. Open title at this year’s tournament, which is scheduled for June 13-16 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland is the second-favorite at 10-1, followed by Lee Westwood of England at 20-1, according to the Las Vegas Hotel’s Super Book.
“I had my opportunities to finish with some good numbers,” Woods said after the Masters. “I played the way I’ve been playing all year, and that’s a good sign.”
Woods has won three of his seven starts this season, though he’s winless in the sport’s four major championships since the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines outside San Diego. Woods remains four majors shy of Jack Nicklaus’s record.
Scott, after becoming the first Australian to win in the 77-year history of the Masters, has 25-1 odds of adding a second major title at the U.S. Open. Also at 25-1 are Phil Mickelson and Brandt Snedeker of the U.S., and Englishman Justin Rose.
Woods’s chances of winning a fifth Masters title may have been derailed by a single shot during the second round, as his third shot at the par-5 15th hole caromed backward off the flag stick and into a pond in front of the green. It turned a potential birdie into a bogey and Woods was later assessed a two-stroke penalty by the rules committee after he said in a televised interview that he intentionally dropped his ball two yards behind the original location.
While the committee cleared Woods of any wrongdoing, many questioned why he didn’t withdraw for the rules violation. Woods said he never considered it.
Woods hasn’t said which tournaments he’ll enter before the U.S. Open, though last year he played in the Wells Fargo (WFC:US) Championship, the Players Championship and the Memorial Tournament ahead of the season’s second major. This year’s Wells Fargo Championship is scheduled for May 2-5 in Charlotte, North Carolina, followed by the Players Championship the next week in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. The Memorial Tournament is May 30 to June 2 in Dublin, Ohio, two weeks before the U.S. Open.
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