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Can Tiger Woods win The Masters in 2017?

PUNTERS in the USA have been laying into Tiger Woods to win The Masters in 2017.

The 41-year-old only played his first tournament in over a year a little less than a month ago, but that hasn’t stopped the punters from backing him to win the tournament for the fifth time at Augusta.

It’s a long way out – April – and it’s not as if he’s set the world alight, but Forbes reports that Tiger leads both the ticket count and money wagered on the Masters at the powerful Las Vegas sports books.

He finished 15th in the Hero World Challenge in December and that was enough for punters, with one sports book reportedly halving his odds from $40 to $20.

Someone has even had US$1000 on the great man to win the tournament.

But have they gone gaga or is Woods a chance?

The last time he stepped out in the Masters was in 2016 and he finished tied for 17th.

To begin 2017, though, Tiger has jam-packed his schedule, with four tournaments in five weeks, starting at Torrey Pines with the Farmers Insurance Open, then to Dubai for the European Tour’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic, then the Genesis Open in California, followed by a home tournament, the Honda Classic in Florida.

“I would like in my heart of hearts to play a full schedule (this) year,” Woods said

“This (season) is going to be a bit different because, quite frankly, I haven’t done it in a while, so we’re going to be smart about it.”

And, if he’s smart about it and does look like a goer to win the Masters, you can still find some juicy odds with several Aussie bookmakers.

WilliamHill.com.au has wound Woods all the way into $21, but you will get better at CrownBet.com.au and Sportsbet.com.au – both online bookmakers quoting him at $26.

Sportsbet has also launched a pair of exotics on how Woods will perform in 2017.

The bookie has a market on how many wins Tiger will claim on the US Tour this year, but they don’t rate him much, no wins the favoured option at $1.72. He is even money to get one or more wins, but four wins looks most unlikely, rated a $67 chance.

There is also a market available on the number of majors he will win in 2017, with just $1.14 available about him winning no majors. That’s the smart tip, but you never know with Tiger. He is $6 to claim one win, and a gaudy $501 to win all four.

After all, he has won 14 major titles in his career, second only to the legendary Jack Niclaus and, on top of that, he has 79 PGA tour wins, also second, behind Sam Snead.

Once the world’s number one golfer, Tiger is now ranked number 652. But he has the backing of the most powerful man in golf, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.

Monahan reckons Woods can win plenty of tournaments – over at least the next 34 years.

“Just so we’re clear, when he’s 75 years old I’m going to still think he can win on the Tour,” Monahan said.

“Given the amount of time that Tiger’s been out of the game there’s a great amount of interest and anticipation for how he’s going to perform, particularly after making 24 birdies (at the Hero event).

“I think the way his energy, his countenances … the joy that he had that week lends itself for all of us.

“It’s very exciting to think about what he could potentially accomplish in the coming weeks.”

And, Tiger still only has one goal: “I am working hard to sharpen my game for 2017, and my goal is simple: to win,” he wrote on a blog on his website.

“Winning takes care of itself.

“I’m still testing clubs and trying to find the best ball-wood combo.

“I thought what I did at the Hero World Challenge was a positive step.

“I just need to keep building off that and eliminate the simple mistakes I made.

“Being away from the game that long, I made some really dumb errors I don’t normally make, and it cost me.

“On top of that, I got a couple bad breaks and didn’t recover from them.

“My good stuff was really good, which is a great sign.

“I know many people doubted whether I would play competitive golf again, and to be honest, even I wasn’t sure.

“My love for the game never left.

“It’s just that the body would not allow me to play.

“Now my body is allowing me to do it again… and there is great reason for optimism.

Our take on Tiger

Tiger Woods is arguably the greatest golfer of all time and easily its biggest drawcard of the modern era. So why wouldn’t you want to have a crack at him? Well, apart from the fact he has a crook back and hasn’t won a major for eight and a half years, we all still love Tiger. He’s won The Masters four times, but has not worn the green jacket since 2005 – that’s a long time between drinks. But there is just a nostalgia about Tiger. His legendary play. His infamous fall from grace. His career threatening injury and now his rise from the ashes. Can he find the form of his youth and put together something special in 2017? The golf world has its collective fingers crossed. And hey, if he can’t, he can cry into the reported US$740 million net fortune he has amassed – good enough for seventh on Forbes’ richest celebrities list. Oh, to be a superstar sportsperson.

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