|LIKE TO BET ON GOLF?|
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Florida - Astonished doesn't begin to describe my reaction to learning that Tiger Woods, playing for the first time near his new home in Palm Beach County, isn't favored to win this week's Honda Classic at PGA National Golf Club. Like to bet on golf? My instincts tell me that Woods has been practicing extra-long hours since being bounced from match play and wants to win this golf tournament almost as much as any major. I'm betting on that.
Should this automatically make Tiger Woods the favorite? Currently, Ladbroke's lists Rory McIlroy as the chalk at 8-1 and it's hard to argue that the youngster doesn't deserve the esteem. Woods, meanwhile, is the second choice at 12-1 while third choice is Lee Westwood, right behind Tiger at 14-1. Although I can't imagine the odds growing longer on Tiger Woods come Thursday morning, it's conceivable that he could swap the 2-3 spots with Westwood. I should mention that no golfer in the rest of the field is listed at less than 33-1.
Lest we forget everyone else, there are a number of pro golfers who have come to South Florida feeling pretty good about their games. Keegan Bradley, just to name one such individual, has been playing lights out of late.
Are there any bettable long shots in this golf field? How about Y.E. Yang who brings his majors-type game to PGA National? Yang's odds are currently 50-1. Another golfer who has shown flashes of brilliance recently is Jarrod Lyle at 80-1, possibly on the verge of a breakout year. My sentimental pick might surprise some but local product Briny Baird, who has played this golf course more than anyone else, is being given my strong consideration, especially at 100-1. With the Dow surging, I can't, in good conscience, recommend that you bet on golf as a sound investment. But it might be time to dig those few shillings out of the couch. Tiger Woods at a price in his home town? Probably never see it again in our lifetime.
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