Can Tiger Woods dominate at Oak Hill?
Tiger Woods is entitled to be all the rage for the USPGA, the final major of the season, after taking a strong field apart in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational last weekend.
The man many consider to be the best golfer ever to play the game and with 14 major titles already in the bag, is surely ready to strike again. Coral’s 9/2 is begging to be grabbed, isn’t it?
But, at the moment at least, nobody is getting knocked over in the rush to back world number one. Punters who once viewed Woods and majors as a license to print money are now not so gung ho. In more recent times, a pattern has been emerging where he has promised more than he has delivered. Fingers have been burnt.
Woods has been going into the weekends in majors in strong positions, but has failed to raise his game when it has really mattered, something he would do as a matter of course in his pomp. At Muirfield last month, for instance, everything looked in place for him to take charge after solid opening rounds, but the anticipated surge never materialised. It’s almost as if he has never won a major, like he’s a nervous major virgin all over again.
You would imagine he is bound to come through this some time, but Woods’s weekend stats in majors in recent times (23 over par in the last seven) do not make impressive reading.
Lee Westwood, of course, is still looking for his first big win and punters will be excused for thinking that it will never happen after the final day disappointment in Scotland.
But Westwood did so much right for so long at Muirfield and perhaps it will be when the pressure is a little lighter and the golf course a little more suitable that the Englishman will finally come good. Like, say, in the major with the lowest profile (USPGA) at a course (Oak Hill) that will reward his long, straight driving.
Coral go 33/1 Westwood outright, 15/2 to be top European and 4/1 to be top GB and Ireland.
Phil Mickelson (16/1) is on the crest of a wave after his Open triumph, while another form horse very much to consider is Swede Henrik Stenson (25/1 to win outright, 8/1 to be top European), runner-up at Muirfield and in Akron last week and back amongst the world’s elite after a long spell in the doldrums.
Of the outsiders, lanky Bristolian Chris Wood, twice in the frame in the Open and prominent amongst those vainly chasing Woods in America last week, catches the eye at 200/1 outright (or 14/1 in a field of eight Englishmen).
Written by Jon Freeman