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Tiger Favourite To Win US Open

Imagine Golf Club's Tom Cates on why he is betting on Tiger to win

Posted Jun 15, 2009 by Tom Cates

tiger at open

So who is going to win the US Open?  Golf's 2nd major of the year gets underway next week over the famed Bethpage Black course in New York and I for one can’t wait for the action to unfold. 
Tiger Woods sits at the top of the betting and after his performance at The Memorial I'm not surprised.  For the first time since returning from his bust up knee, Woods showed that he really is back to his very best.  His final round 65 was just sensational and the birdie, birdie finish was quite exceptional.  I didn’t fancy the great for The Masters, believing the tournament was going to come too soon for him on his rehabilitation trail.  Now though it is a different story.  When he was in his pomp, Woods dominated his rivals in a manner rarely seen in professional sport.  I think that we might just be on the cusp of another period of mastery.  His ball striking was quite magnificent, he didn’t seem to miss a shot and, when he did find himself in trouble, he was quick to use the touch that only he seems capable of finding in moments of great need.

His driving has long been seen as a weak spot in his game - not the distance he hits it, more the direction.  Well last weekend he was awesome.  He hit 14 out of 14 fairways on the Sunday.  That's remarkable.  In the commentary booth, Jack Nicklaus ventured as far as to say it was perhaps the greatest driving display in Woods career.  He was that good.  If he carries that kind of straight hitting into New York State then his rivals are in trouble.  Interestingly, Woods and coach Hank Haney have decided to start using a driver with a 10 degree loft and it appears the extra forgiveness that offers is helping.  Woods himself, when asked about it, seemed a little coy on the subject and joked he had done it because he was getting old.  Whatever the ins and outs of the call he and Haney have made, it looks like the right one and perhaps one which we lesser mortals should take on board.

The odds makers have Woods at around 2/1 which seems awfully short, but I'm not sure who can beat him when he's in this kind of form.  I for one will be piling in.  Well, I'll have at least a tenner on him, and I'll be surprised if I'm not collecting on the Monday morning, barring a play-off.  His game is in great shape, he's mentally the strongest golfer in the world, he's the defending champion and he won the last time the tournament was held at Bethpage back in 2002.  Oh! And he's chasing down Jack's haul of 18 majors.  With 14 in the bag already, I wouldn't be surprised if he has 17 by the end of the year.  Nicklaus reckons he played the best golf of his career between the ages of 32 and 35.  Tiger's age now? 33.  Lump on.
- Tom Cates


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