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.
If he puts like he did this past weekend, Tiger will probably be a force at Augusta. Perhaps we’ll see an incredible rivalry with Rory McIlroy after all.
[Masters chairman Billy] Payne couldn’t have scripted it any better. Instead of a disgraced adulterer winning with his wife nowhere to be seen, the tournament ended with a married couple hugging. Perfect. Right out of the 1950s. Just like Augusta. The bubble remained secure.
Unfortunately for Woods, it’s time to leave that bubble and join 2010 again. It’s a world that may include drunken hecklers, catcalls, fans taking photos during his swing, more airplane banners, TMZ cameramen, unsubstantiated rumors and media troublemakers starting trouble just for sport. It’s a world where my wife watches two people hugging and hates Tiger Woods because of it. It’s a world where, if he slips and drops an F-bomb during a tournament, the moment will be replayed again and again. It’s a world where Phil Mickelson is now the most popular golfer in the world, hands down, nobody else coming close.
Simmons also noted that Augusta does such a good job of controlling its crowd that Tiger didn’t have to deal with much in the way of heckling this weekend. That could change in upcoming weeks, however.
They’re already calling this the golf shot of the year, and it propelled Mickelson to the Masters title. It was on the 13th hole of Sunday’s final round, and he had to hit it between the trees and over the water. This is proof positive that Mickelson is daring.
Rick Reilly, ESPN: It’s not often women win the Masters, but they did Sunday. Actually, Phil Mickelson won, but for millions of women around the country, it must feel like a lipstick-sized victory. Mickelson, in case you forgot, is the guy who stayed true to his wife. He’s the guy who’s been missing tournaments the last 11 months while he flies her back and forth to a breast cancer specialist in Houston. He’s the guy who didn’t need reminding that women are not disposable. Mani-pedis for everybody! Also winning Sunday: karma, which proved to be alive and well. And guys who never had a temper in the first place. And endings that make you wipe your tears on the couch pillows. Mickelson is the guy whose heavy head on the bed pillow lately wasn’t self-inflicted. Both his wife, Amy, and his mother, Mary, have breast cancer. Usually, those two are at every tournament he’s in, but for the last year they’ve been fighting, resting, and fighting again at home. And Mickelson has gone back to his rented homes alone. So when Amy turned up on the 18th green Sunday at Augusta National for the first time in 11 months and Mickelson practically fell into her outstretched arms, you wanted to hug somebody yourself. Mickelson hugged and cried. And his wife hugged and cried.
Mike Freeman, CBSSports.com: Woods approached and decided not to take a drop. Woods’ caddy, Steve Williams, told fans to “watch the shadows on his ball” and then rolled his eyes when several people didn’t move quickly enough for his liking. After talking to himself for about 15 seconds, Woods took his shot, and a second after the swing there was a strong thud. The ball hit a tree and rolled out onto the fairway. Woods never said a word to Sullivan before or after ball met biceps. Interestingly, in the very next group, again on 11, Phil Mickelson’s shot hit a different fan, also in the arm, right near Sullivan. Mickelson approached the fan, asked if he was OK and handed him a glove. Besides illustrating the differences between how Woods and Mickelson treat people, the 11th basically ended any chance of Woods making his Masters return even more fascinating than it was. Woods bogeyed 11 just as Mickelson was starting to surge. And it was fascinating, curse-filled theatre watching Woods, to be sure. Woods shot 69 to finish 11 under and tied for fourth. His day typified what has been one of the more circus-like but brilliant returns to a sport after a layoff any great athlete has ever accomplished. It doesn’t quite rival Ali’s return to boxing, but it was on the same level as Michael Jordan’s return to basketball.