The 14-time major champion won his first PGA Tour event since 2009 on Sunday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. It was his first chance to revel in a tour victory since his personal life went into turmoil following a sex scandal that ended his marriage and precipitated a steady decline in his game and his stature as the man to beat on the course.
But with his five-stroke victory Sunday and the Masters starting April 5, all that has changed.
“His whole game looks right now. He’s putting well. He’s chipping well. He’s driving well,” said Rupert Adams, a spokesman for British bookmaker William Hill. “The armor looks to be back in place again, and actually possibly the aura. Once again he’s got the swagger back in his step.”
William Hill has Woods listed as the 4-1 favorite to win his fifth Masters title, with Rory McIlroy close behind at 5-1. Other bookies have similar odds, with Ladbrokes quoting the same numbers as William Hill. Paddy Power and Coral both have Woods as the 7-2 favorite with McIlroy next at 9-2.
At 4-1 odds, a $1 bet returns $5. At 7-2, $1 returns $4.50.
This year’s Masters will be the first major in which Woods is listed as the favorite since the same tournament in 2010.