Tiger Woods British Open Odds, Liability: ‘Tiger Money’ Flows Again

Tiger Woods playing in major leagues has become a familiar dance for sports betting at this point.

The bookmakers know that Woods is very unlikely to win the upcoming Open Championship 2022 (aka the British Open), but they weren’t born yesterday, so they are also aware that even if they tax Woods’ odds , they’ll have had enough of ‘Tiger Money’ that another fairy tale win would absolutely crush them. It’s about finding that sweet spot for both sides of the window.

Bettors want to post a number that will attract as many bettors as possible, while avoiding posting a number that could put themselves in a very bad situation if the unthinkable happened.

Woods was +5000 to win the Masters and +6600 to win the PGA Championship, both of which seem long enough for casual bettors and Tiger fans to be attractive, while not even coming close to representing his true odds, which are probably somewhere in the triple digits.

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Long-term success in sports betting will always depend on discipline and making +EV (positive expected value) decisions more often than not, but there are always exceptions to every rule. People – even savvy people – want to bet on Tiger, even on wrong numbers. Who knows how many more chances we’ll have to throw money at Woods to win a Major?

As of this writing, Woods is at +6600 on BetMGM to win the Open Championship at St. Andrews and once again it looks like the bookmakers have found that sweet spot. According BetMGM’s John Ewing, 5.7% of the tickets they wrote and 6.7% of the money wagered in their shop are on The Big Cat. Woods is their biggest handicap.

Tiger Woods media.
Tiger Woods speaks to the media ahead of The Open Championship 2022.
Getty Images

And that’s the kind of liability that the bookmakers will agree with.

“Tiger Woods is already a significant handicap for [us]”, Jason Scott, Vice President of Trading at BetMGM, said to Ewing. “Judging from his last tournaments, playing four days in a row seems to put incredible stress on Tiger’s body, so we’re comfortable with the huge responsibility.”

Golf fans and Tiger supporters alike can point to what happened at the 2019 Masters as a reason to throw a few bucks at Woods – and damn it, betting should be fun, so if you love Tiger and want to have a bit of skin in the game should the unthinkable happen, sure – but it’s worth noting the differences between what was happening in the spring of 2019 and what Tiger faces today.

Woods, who started at +1400 for that storybook win at Augusta, was playing here and there before the Masters that year. He wasn’t playing much, of course, but he was only six months away from winning the TOUR Championship the previous fall.

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Tiger has played in two tournaments – the Masters and PGA Championships – since his car accident last February. And in one of those events, the PGA Championship, Woods retired after the third round. Through seven rounds of golf in 2022, The Big Cat is +25. You put any other golfer – even players like Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas or Rory McIlroy – in this situation and they wouldn’t get a chance to fight this weekend. But Woods, as always, has earned the respect of no one counting him.

Woods is the greatest golfer and one of the greatest athletes to ever walk the earth, so yes, there’s a slim chance he could overcome the odds to lift his fourth Claret Jug and first since 2006.

But if that doesn’t happen, sports betting will find itself in a formidable position.