Tiger Woods now a top-10 favorite to win 2018 Masters

Aug 11, 2015; Sheboygan, WI, USA; Tiger Woods speaks at a press conference during a practice round for the 2015 PGA Championship golf tournament at Whistling Straits -The Straits Course. Mandatory Credit: Michael Madrid-USA TODAY Sports

His return to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge has the sport’s world buzzing about Tiger Woods.

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Also buzzing are the Las Vegas oddsmakers. The four-time Masters champion is now down to 20/1 odds to win the Masters in April.

“On the heels of a T-9 showing at the Hero World Challenge in his first competitive start in 10 months, Tiger Woods’ odds fell to 20/1,” Will Gray of the Golf Channel reported. “While Woods was available as low as 15/1 over the weekend, his current odds are still a dramatic dip from the 100/1 figure with which he opened in August.”

At 20/1, Tiger has the same odds as reigning U.S. Open champion and world No. 8, Brooks Koepka, and the fifth ranked player in the world, Hideki Matsuyama. Woods trails only Jordan Spieth (7/1), Dustin Johnson (10/1), Rory McIlroy (12/1), and the quintet of Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, and Justin Thomas (15/1).

Tiger does have a great history at Augusta. He’s won there four times and never missed a Masters cut as a pro. The last time he played there was 2015, which resulted in a tie for 17th. Injuries have kept Woods from playing in each of the last two and three of the last four Masters.

There’s still a long way to go for Woods before we can put him up there with the world’s best. His performance at the Hero World Challenge was impressive. The next big test will come when Woods has a bad round (particularly with the driver) at a regular tour event. How will his back and the rest of his body hold up to the extra strain of consistently having to hack out of thick rough?

The good news is that he passed his first test with flying colors. That give us hope that the next test will have similar results.