For as well as Tiger Woods drove the ball for much of his career, when it comes to driving a vehicle, the 14-time major golf winner is more error-prone than your average weekend hacker.
Early Monday morning, Woods was arrested in Jupiter, Florida, for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol. He was released around 11 am after sobering up, but not before a viral mugshot that will haunt him for some time to come was posted to major media outlets around the world.
Woods had said in April that he wouldn’t play professional golf again in 2017, due to ongoing rehabilitation from his fourth back surgery. He had hoped to play in the Masters last month in Georgia, and the hype led to a substantial numbers of wagers being placed on the four-time Green Jacket winner at Nevada sportsbooks.
While those bets were returned, since he didn’t compete, that wasn’t the case for all wagers placed on Dustin Johnson, the odds-on favorite. The world’s top-ranked player withdrew just minutes before his Thursday tee time after falling down steps inside his rental home and injuring his back the previous day.
DJ’s absence highlighted the wide span of return policies at Nevada books. While the Westgate, South Point, Golden Nugget, and Station Casinos said Johnson warming up on the day of the first round didn’t constitute participation, and subsequently returned money to bettors. But other sportsbooks, such as William Hill, MGM, and Caesars properties, kept the wagers.
Odds on Woods for this year have been struck, but some books are already gearing up for a potential 2018 return. Paddy Power lists the former great at 80-1 to win the 2018 Masters.
For much of his career, Woods seemed destined to break Jack Nicklaus’ mark of 18 majors and easily be declared the greatest golfer to ever swing a club.
In 2008, he won his 14th major title, the US Open, in dramatic fashion. Basically playing on one leg (due to an ailing left knee), Woods birdied the last hole to force a playoff against Rocco Mediate, which he would win the following day on the 19th hole, after birding the last again to go to sudden death.
It would be the last time to date Woods would triumph at a major event.
In November of 2009, the beginning of his serious troubles began when he crashed his Cadillac Escalade near his driveway following a domestic fight with his wife over numerous affairs. Following the accident, more than a dozen women came forward, claiming sexual affairs with the then-married Woods, many of which he himself fessed up to.
That scandal cost him his marriage, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in sponsorship deals. And while few could have seen the affairs coming to light having a long-impact on his golf game, the fact is that Woods’ performance has simply never been the same since.
No Longer Invincible
Woods dominated golf for over a decade, between his first Masters win in 1997 and his last major in 2008. Pro golfers today have him to thank for the lavish purses that accompany each weekly event. But while he was feared on the golf course for years by his colleagues, today he’s lost almost all of his mojo.
He admitted during the fallout from his affairs, “I thought I could get away with whatever I wanted to do.” Apparently, that includes driving a car while intoxicated.
The odds don’t seem to favor Woods every hoisting a championship trophy again. But that likely won’t stop bettors from taking some risk on backing Tiger in the coming years, should he continue trying.