Tiger Woods Return: Odds Tiger Wins the 2016 Safeway Open
Tiger Woods is coming back to the PGA Tour. One of the greatest pro golfers the game has ever seen has battled numerous nagging injuries over the years and has even seen his form drop off, but there is still a massive wave of excitement at the prospect of a healthy Tiger hitting the course.
Woods made the announcement on Wednesday morning, with the 2016 Safeway Open slated to be his return tournament later in October. With Woods back in the fold, every golf betting nerd’s knee-jerk reaction is to wonder whether or not the once lovable star can turn back the clock in his first tourney back.
Tiger Woods has announced he's returning to golf in October: https://t.co/KJS9aE8POH
— SB Nation (@SBNation) September 7, 2016
It’s fair to wonder, too, since he hasn’t played at all in 2016 and participated in just nine events in 2015. Woods was pretty brutal even then, as he didn’t win a single tournament and scored his way inside the top-10 just once.
Woods sounds healthy, confident and borderline excited for the first time in a while, however. His career has truly been downhill ever since his cheating scandal made headlines, and he hasn’t been able to focus or stay healthy in the years since.
It’s possible the time has finally come for Woods to put all of the darkness behind him and turn his career back around, however.
Reason For Optimism
Woods hasn’t been that dominant player for a while, but we need to consider three very big factoids: He’s only 40, he’s still in terrific shape and he is as talented as any golfer out there.
In addition, Woods has had ample time to work out any remaining issues to his game, he should be at 100% in terms of health and strength and he also should be completely prepared mentally. This will undoubtedly be the freshest we’ve seen Woods in some time, who understandably needed a mental break as much as a physical one.
Woods decided not to rush back after a 2015 surgery and there’s a very real chance he benefits greatly from that. Coming in and winning a tourney isn’t completely logical, but Woods could end up having very playable odds to win or place, come October.
Why Woods Won’t Win
Let’s face it, Woods hasn’t been the same guy since 2013. He’s only played in 24 events since, but he’s won just one tournament during that stretch. Injuries, pride, confidence and talent have all eroded a good deal over the past three years and while Woods is not an old man at 40, he’s no longer the young pup that destroyed the PGA Tour without breaking a sweat.
Two other huge issues stand in the way of a successful Tiger Woods return: an elite field and rust. Woods could bust out of the gates and be red hot after being so well rested, but logic says he won’t be quite ready in his first tourney back. He’ll be rusty and will probably hit some bad shots.
He can’t afford any of that with such a bloated field these days. It remains to be determined exactly which stud golfers file into the Safeway Open in October, but it’s probably a decent bet that most of the big names will want to be on hand for Tiger Woods’ return. The more star power than is in the Safeway Open field, the less likely Tiger Woods can win, let alone place well.
Tiger Woods Prediction
Our stance could easily change come October, but right now a Tiger Woods win at the Safeway Open seems like quite the reach. Woods has only played this event once before in his career (tied for 30th), while this event has seen a different golfer win each year. It’s also a fairly young event (debuted in 2007), so it’s fair to say it’s a tough one to gauge in all respects.
That won’t change for Woods, who will try to place high against stiff competition in his first tourney back. We’ll be pulling for Woods and hopefully we’ll see enough good signs to look favorably on him in other tournaments before the year is up, but the odds are likely stacked against him to top expectations in his first event back.
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