Tiger Woods among popular picks to win Masters

Tiger Woods hasn’t competed in a major tournament since 2015. He hasn’t won a major in 10 years, and he last won the Masters in 2005. But there are many who believe Woods is back in championship form, and he is among the group with the best odds to win the 2018 Masters, which begins Thursday at Augusta National.


Woods was preparing for spinal fusion surgery during last year’s tournament, unsure if he would ever play another round of professional golf. A DUI arrest in May 2017 hinted at a long and bumpy road to recovery, but Woods overcame that setback and officially returned to the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open. A pair of top-5 finishes at the Valspar Championship and the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March have elevated Woods back into the conversation for a major championship, with a deluge of wagers on him at Las Vegas sportsbooks.


Joining Woods with the best odds to win the Masters are Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, and Justin Thomas. Spieth won the tournament in 2015 and was on track to repeat before a disaster at the 12th hole in 2016. McIlroy is a Masters victory away from a career grand slam, and his win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational suggests he is entering the weekend in fine form. Johnson is the top-ranked golfer in the world and the 2016 U.S. Open champion, while Thomas was the PGA player of the year for 2017 after winning the PGA Championship.


Woods will also have to contend with former champions like Bubba Watson and Phil Mickelson, who both have multiple green jackets in their wardrobe. Both Watson and Mickelson have recent Tour victories to their credit, and the rolling hills of Augusta tend to play well for left-handed golfers like them.


A win this weekend would be the 15th major tournament win of Woods’ career, inching him closer to matching the record total of 18 set by Jack Nicklaus. He hasn’t had a top-5 finish at a major since the 2013 Masters.