Punters backing tiger to score major windfall
In betting terms, the US Masters is the largest golf event in the calendar with millions traded over the four days as the hopes of punters ebb and flow with the fortunes of their selections. With in-play punting now such an integral feature of golf betting, this year's event is expected to be one of the biggest in history.
After shooting a 65 on the Friday of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill GC, Tiger Woods began to attract sustained support for the Masters at odds of 8/1 and that price halved after his five-shot demolition of the field.
Backed at a high of 12/1 earlier this year when still appearing to be in a career wilderness, a resurgent Tiger is hitting form at just the right time and although the field he faces in Augusta is probably the best he will have ever encountered there, I expect his price to contract even further in the coming days. Since Woods was victorious in Bay Hill, only one player's odds have stood firm in the face of the Tiger betting tsunami and that's Rory McIlroy, who is 11/2 second favourite.
There was €800,000 matched on the then 22-year-old at the incredible odds of 4/5 in-play on Betfair when he established a commanding lead on the Saturday of last year's event but McIlroy famously fell to pieces on Sunday's homeward nine.
He subsequently gave a dominant display in winning the US Open at Congressional and market sentiment would indicate that punters are giving him a chance to redeem himself at Augusta, with many expecting the final pairing on Sunday to be Woods and McIlroy. Justin Rose is another player with past Masters form who has returned to winning ways on the PGA Tour and the Betfair customers who backed him at a tasty 139/1 are sitting pretty as he is now just 33/1.
Despite being ranked the best player in the world, Luke Donald has attracted little support at 16/1 and the same could be said of previous winner, Phil Mickelson, currently 14/1. Thanks to the participation of McIlroy, Graeme McDowell (64/1), Pádraig Harrington (130/1) and Darren Clarke (640/1), Irish interest is at an all-time high.
Barry Orr is PR & Horse Racing
Manager, Betfair Ireland
Sunday Indo Sport