Even though it never went away, the PGA Tour steps back into the spotlight with the 2014 British Open starting Thursday at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.
Even though Tiger technically came back three weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National, everyone knew that was a way for him to get his feet wet. The 38-year-old missed the cut after shooting 74 and 75 in the first two rounds.
Tiger will garner more attention this weekend because of how big the British Open is and the fact that this is his first Grand Slam event of the year after missing the Masters and the U.S. Open due to back surgery.
Before we make official predictions, the odds to win the 2014 British Open have been released. We've got a look at the top contenders as well as the best and most puzzling decisions from the oddsmakers.
|Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Martin Kaymer||14-1|
|Justin Rose, Tiger Woods||16-1|
|Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia||25-1|
|Bubba Watson, Charl Schwartzel, Dustin Johnson, Ian Poulter, Luke Donald, Matt Kuchar,||33-1|
|Brandt Snedeker, Ernie Els, Louis Oosthuizen, Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson||40-1|
|Angel Cabrera, Hunter Mahan, Jamie Donaldson, Jason Dufner, Paul Casey, Thomas Bjorn||50-1|
Full odds can be found at Odds Shark and are current through 4 p.m. ET on July 15.
Overrated: Tiger Woods (14-1)
It's almost too easy to say Tiger is overrated based on odds at this point in his career. He hasn't won a Grand Slam event since the 2008 U.S. Open, so we have six years of evidence suggesting that a win won't happen at Royal Liverpool.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Tiger hasn't been very consistent in his last nine majors, with the exception of the 2013 British Open:
Aside from the name, there's nothing in Tiger's recent history to suggest that he should be tied with Justin Rose for the third-best odds at The Open. He has played six rounds under par this season, half of them coming in the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, which took place in December.
Until Tiger proves he's physically and mentally capable of staying in a Grand Slam tournament for all four rounds, there's no way you can put any money on him.
Underrated: Louis Oosthuizen (40-1)
Here's a clear case in which the value is so good that you can take on more risk.
Louis Oosthuizen has had back issues of his own that have led to disappointing results, including withdrawing from the Travelers Championship in June and missing the cut at the Scottish Open on the European Tour last week.
It's not a sterling resume to look at, but bang for the buck is what you try to find. Brian Blessing of Sporting News raved about Oosthuizen's potential at Royal Liverpool this weekend.
"I keep chasing Louis Oosthuizen," Blessing said. "He’s got back issues, but he’s got one of the sweetest swings and he’s got the game. He won his British Open in dominant style (in 2010). If he can keep himself upright for four days, I think Louis Oosthuizen...is a guy worth a look."
If you want to look at recent British Open history, Oosthuizen had one of the great performances in recent memory with a 16-under at St Andrews in 2010. Last year was a lost cause, as he withdrew due to an injury, but if the swing holds up and gives him a chance to win Sunday, don't be shocked if the South African star gets another Claret Jug.
Deep Sleeper: Paul Casey (50-1)
There hasn't been a glut of Englishmen to win the British Open. Nick Faldo was the last player to do it, and that was in 1992. Paul Casey isn't lighting up the leaderboard this year, finishing outside the top 10 in all 12 of his PGA Tour events in 2014.
What's the most likely scenario for the British Open?
Again, though, if you want to look at value and potential, there are worse players to take a risk on. Casey has had moments when things looked like they were clicking this year, including consecutive rounds of 66 at the Memorial in May.
Finding a way to sustain that success is what Casey is lacking. The 36-year-old plummeted in the third round of the Memorial with a 76 and has broken 70 just once in 10 PGA Tour rounds since that Friday in May.
However, Casey has been getting stronger on the European Tour, with three straight tournaments played under par, including a 65 on Sunday at the Scottish Open in preparation for the British Open.
The light at the end of the tunnel could easily be a train ready to knock Casey off the tracks, but there's a glimmer of hope in the distance that something is starting to click for the former No. 3 player in the world.
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