After the two-week Hawaii swing and last weekend’s gimmicky La Quinta Pro-Am shoot-out, most diehard golf fans will get what they consider the real start of the PGA season. Hardcore golf fans don’t push the needle one way or another though and lucky enough for golf viewership, Tiger Woods is back!
What does that mean for golf betting and golf viewership as a whole?
1. Overblown and unrealistic expectations for starters. Let’s be serious for a second; Tiger Woods has no realistic chance of winning. If that is the case, then why do we see him as the seventh betting favorite at 25/1? With eight official PGA tour wins, including one Major here at Torrey Pines, public money is going to bet Tiger no matter how long the layoff. The thing everyone needs to realize is Tiger Woods is still the most popular golfer in the world. Most casual golf fans have not forgotten the classic Tiger fist pump or the utter dominance he displayed for years, and this will draw money at the window from people expecting him to be just like they last remembered.
2. Viewership numbers will go WAY up, which is good for the sport. My only concern would be if you thought last weekend’s golf coverage was bad, I worry we could get a similar trend this week of the coverage showing only Tiger’s group. With the increased ratings, golf will hopefully do a better job of displaying their full crop of young players, and not get stuck showing just a few guys. The game is in the best hands it has ever been. We need casual fans to see how good all these guys are.
What should we hope to get from Tiger Woods?
I would consider this weekend a success if Tiger can make it through the tournament without re-aggravating his back. I know that is a straightforward task, but it is becoming difficult to watch Tiger grimace around the course in pain during every comeback. If Woods’ can stay healthy, he will most certainly show flashes here and there of what we remember. If he can make the cut, that is an even greater bonus. Better yet, if he can somehow find himself on the first 2-3 pages of the leaderboard come Sunday, it is a win for all.
Stay tuned for my Farmers Insurance Open Outright and Head to Head bets.
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