Tiger can end drought here, says ex-coach

Not since he stunned the world as a 21-year-old has Tiger Woods been so unfancied to win a golf tournament. That is the opinion of the bookmakers, who have the former world No 1 as a 14-1 shot to prevail here at the Accenture Match Play Championship. It happens to be the longest price on Woods for 14 years and more than 250 events.



Woods was 16-1 when he ran away with the 1997 Masters. What he would give for a little of that magic as he heads into tomorrow's first round against Thomas Bjorn, who made a rousing return to form in Qatar three weeks ago. And even if Woods sees him off then the winner of Geoff Ogilvy, the two-time champion, and Padraig Harrington, the three-time champion, awaits.

The draw is just one of the reasons for the odds quoted by Ladbrokes yesterday and they are surely not the worst tool by which to gauge the current shape of Woods's game and, indeed, his standing as he tries to rebuild his life and his swing in the wake of last year's sex scandal. But then, at least one of his exes still has faith in Woods. Hank Haney, the coach who ditched him last May, has tipped his former pupil to end the longest losing run of his professional career this week.

Anyone who watched Woods fade away at the Desert Classic in Dubai 10 days ago, just like he had disappeared off the leaderboard at his season opener in San Diego a fortnight before, will doubt whether his game – or psyche – can cope with five days of gruelling knockout, in the event which features 63 of the world's top 64 players.

But Haney has heard reports from John Cook, the veteran pro, and is convinced the time is nigh to shrug off a 15-month, 17-tournament blank. "John said it all clicked for Tiger on Monday with his swing," tweeted the Texan, under whom Woods won six majors. "I remember when that happened with me. He should win next week. A lot of times people believe what they hope for, but John Cook should know 'great' when he sees it."

Woods has overhauled his swing under his new coach, Sean Foley, and, up to now, has been plagued by inconsistency. But Cook played a practice round with his neighbour at Isleworth last Tuesday, the day after Woods had arrived back from Dubai at 6am and gone straight to the range to work with Foley. Apparently, this particular devotion to duty is paying off.

It will need to, as up against him is a quality field crammed with quality Britons, including the world No 1 Lee Westwood, the defending champion Ian Poulter, and the two-time finalist Paul Casey. Indeed, six of the top 12 seeds are from the UK, with the No 2 seed Martin Kaymer making the European challenge stronger than ever.

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas