Woods was tipped in this column at 14-1 to win the Masters, but it may be many years before the Tiger is again available at such a price. Ladbrokes and Coral, at 5-1, are the most generous of the big high-street layers, while the Tote offer just 3-1 against him, but even these poor rates of return are unlikely to deter backers from playing up their Augusta winnings.
It is hard to get away from Woods as one for the short-list at 5-1, but in such a competitive field, and with such a hot favourite, there must also be some value further down the list. Europeans, even those like Nick Faldo who base themselves in the States, have a dreadful record in this event, and both he and Colin Montgomerie, a perennial failure in the majors, are easily ignored.
Last year's winner, Steve Jones, started the week at three-figure odds, while several other winners have been almost impossible to predict, so bets are best kept to a minimum. But two players who appeal at healthy odds are Loren Roberts and Paul Stankowski. Roberts (50-1, Hills) put together three consistent rounds to be well placed going into the final round of the Kemper Open last night, while Stankowski (33-1, Coral/Hills), whose promise has been overlooked in the hubbub surrounding Woods, may be ready to emerge from Tiger's shadow.
Pete Sampras may have failed yet again to complete the set of Grand Slam events in the French Open, but he is a firm favourite with Ladbrokes for Wimbledon. Boris Becker, is 6-1 second favourite, with Tim Henman 33- 1.
US OPEN (Congressional Country Club, starts Thursday): 5-1 Woods (Coral, Ladbroke's), 14-1 Norman (Tote), 16-1 Price (Hill's, T, L), 20-1 Faldo (T), Montgomerie (H, T, L), Lehman (T, C), 25-1 Mickelson (H, L), 33-1 Els (L), Elkington (L), Olazabal (H, T), Woosnam (T, C), Faxon (C, H, T), O'Meara (C), 40-1 bar.
WIMBLEDON (Ladbrokes): Men's singles: 5-4 Sampras, 6-1 Becker, 7-1 Krajicek, 8-1 Ivanisevic, 16-1 Philippoussis, 20-1 Kafelnikov, Rafter, 33-1 Henman, Chang, Enqvist, Martin, Stich, 40-1 bar. Women's singles: 6-4 Hingis, Graf, 6-1 Seles, 16-1 Novotna, 20-1 Majoli, 25-1 Davenport, Sanchez-Vicario, Pierce, 33-1 bar.Reuse content