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Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Tiger Woods expected to contend at Augusta after latest near miss

Brooks Koepka wins US PGA Championship

Tiger Woods plays a shot from a greenside bunker at the 2018 US PGA Championship
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Tiger Woods is a general 12-1 to win the Masters at Augusta in April after seriously contending in the last two Majors.

Woods has only four names above him in the betting for the first Major of next season – Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas – and the four-time Masters champion has grown in confidence after his bold US PGA effort.

Woods finished runner-up at Bellerive Country Club on Sunday, rolling in a long birdie putt at the final hole before ending up two shots shy of a triumphant Brooks Koepka. Woods, who has won 14 Major titles and needs another five to become the most prolific champion of all time, led the Open in July with eight holes to play.


All the winners of the main US PGA Championship betting markets


Augusta, where Woods made his Major breakthrough with a stunning 12-shot success in 1997, is seen by bookmakers as the most likely venue for a 15th victory.

The 42-year-old can be backed at 25-1 for the US Open at Pebble Beach and 20-1 for the Open at Royal Portrush.

Coral go 2-1 that Tiger wins another Major, while he is 100-1 with Betway for a 2019 Grand Slam, and 9-4 with the same firm to become world number one at any time next year.

Koepka was the 20-1 winner of the PGA, his third taste of Major glory in the space of 14 months, yet the layers are still not sufficiently impressed to have the Floridian near the top of their 2019 Majors betting.

Koepka, perhaps underrated due to a lack of personality and his dispassionate approach to golf, is available at 20-1 for the Masters, 18-1 to complete a US Open hat-trick and 22-1 to lift the Claret Jug in Northern Ireland in July.

Bookmakers were pleased to see Koepka, rather than Woods, prevail in the PGA shootout. The history-chasing Tiger was well supported in his quest to put his name on the Wanamaker Trophy for a fifth time.

“Although Koepka was not short of supporters,” said Coral spokesman John Hill. “It was a result we were relatively happy with. The alarm bells were ringing when Tiger was prowling towards the top of the leaderboard on the final day, but, once again, we dodged a bullet.”

“Early indications suggest turnover was down on this year's tournament and that was something we expected with the lack of television coverage. We would love to see the tournament back on the box next year.”

Hill said punters are already turning their minds to the Ryder Cup, which starts in Paris next month. With Koepka and Woods at the top of the PGA leaderboard, and Thomas not far behind, the Americans appear to be building a head of steam.

“We are seeing strong support already for the USA in our Ryder Cup betting,” said Hill. “They are the marginal favourites to come out on top at Le Golf National.”

Koepka, Woods, Thomas and the rest of the elite are taking this week off, with the FedEx Cup playoffs and the Ryder Cup looming large. Thorbjorn Olesen is favourite for the Nordea Masters, while Henrik Stenson will defend his Wyndham Championship crown.


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The four-time Masters champion has grown in confidence after his bold US PGA effort
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