Punters piling on Ian Poulter after Houston take-off
McIlroy expects big things from Tiger Woods
Ian Poulter was a complete irrelevance for the Masters until Sunday night – he had failed to qualify and was obviously being ignored by the punting community – but the Englishman has suddenly become the player who bookmakers fear most with the action about to start at Augusta.
Poulter won the Houston Open in dramatic fashion, holing a long birdie putt on the final green before overcoming Beau Hossler in a playoff, earning a place in the first Major of the season as a result.
The former Ryder Cup star has been heavily supported for Masters glory ever since and almost every layer has seen the fiery 42-year-old shoot to the top of their liabilities chart.
Bookmakers have been shocked by the level of support for Poulter, who has finished in the top ten in three of his last seven Augusta appearances, and he has gone from 80-1 to 55-1 in a flash.
Hills spokesman Rupert Adams said: “Poulter is a surprise worst result for us. Poulter or Justin Rose would be a terrible outcome.”
Bet365's Steve Freeth was equally astonished by the move for a player who was ranked 51st in the world until his Houston heroics, saying: “They've really jumped on the Poulter bandwagon – he has comfortably overtaken Tiger Woods as our biggest liability and is in the book for well over a million.”
John Hill of Coral said: “Each-way punters have been knocking us over to get with Poulter.” And Jessica Bridge of Ladbrokes reported: “Poulter is our worst result and Tiger is on the drift. Jordan Spieth has been the most popular of the Americans.”
Betway's Alan Alger says his firm have also felt the full force of the Poulter love-in. “With his trusty putter behaving itself for the first time in a while, Poulter looks back to his best.”
Woods, who has been impressing in practice rounds this week, can be backed at 16-1 for a fifth Masters triumph.
Rory McIlroy, biggest at 12-1, believes Woods has an excellent chance of victory and said: “Any time Tiger is healthy and in this sort of form, he's dangerous. Given his history here, I think even more so. He's very comfortable around this course and his game is right there.”
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