An ailing back has limited Tiger Woods to four tournaments early in the PGA season, but the 14-time major champion joins rival Rory McIlroy as the prohibitive favorites for next month’s Masters in Augusta, Ga.
Odds makers at Bovad.lv have pegged Woods and McIlroy as 6/1 favorites, though the former hasn’t captured a major title in six years and the latter hasn’t finished higher than 15th at the sport’s most coveted event.
Defending champion Adam Scott and fellow Australian Jason Day are in the next tier of favorites at 14/1 odds, and so is American Phil Mickelson.
Injuries have particularly slowed the 38-year-old Woods over the past few years. He ended last season with a similar back issue, and according to ESPN Woods lightened his offseason workload to better rest for this season.
Woods was visibly in pain during the WGC Cadillac Championship last week due to back spasms, and he was forced to pull out of the Honda Classic the week prior. However, he is reportedly receiving medical treatment, and expects to play at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill next week.
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McIlroy, who’s also participated in four tournaments this year, has two top 10 finishes this year and is seeking his first major since 2012.
Scott became the first Aussie to win the Masters after besting Argentina’s Angel Cabrera in a playoff last year, and looks to be the first back-to-back champion since Woods in 2002.
Ninth on the money list and ranked fourth in the world, 26-year-old Day also withdrew from the WGC Cadillac after sustaining a thumb injury and reportedly will sit for the next two weeks to heal up. Back in 2012 Day pulled out of the Masters with a wrist injury, thus he’s clearly hoping to avoid a repeat of the incident.
Three-time Masters champ Mickelson came in second in Abu Dhabi back in January, but in seven PGA tournaments this season he’s finished no higher than 14 th and missed one cut.
No. 3-ranked Henrik Stenson, 37, also has an excellent shot to win his first career major at 18/1 odds. In 2007 and 2008 he finished tied for 17th in his best showing at the Masters.
Taking place once again at Augusta National, practice rounds run from Monday, April 8 to Wednesday April 10, ending with the Par-3 Contest.
The tournament will run from Thursday, April 10 to April 13. The full schedule of events can be on found on the official site here.
Tickets through the Masters official site are sold out, however fans can rent badges for one day or the entire week at StubHub with the cheapest at $8,145.00. According to the ticket site rented badges have to be returned within 30 minutes after play has ended for the day.
There are also tickets for the practice rounds and Par-3 contest on Craigslist, but of course be careful.