Alec Swann - Short odds indicate that Tiger is back

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

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By the time you’re reading this, I’ll have a good idea of whether my investments in Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan and Graeme McDowell respectively for the US Masters look promising or like money thrown away.

Golf, unlike the majority of other sports, offers good odds on very tidy players, primarily for the reason that any one of a number can triumph.

But prior to the annual Augusta bonanza, while giving the list of prices the once over, it became obvious that the normal service of the recent past had been resumed.

It had apparently been on a brief holiday but in recent weeks had been building to the point where it’s as though nothing ever happened.

I’m talking about Tiger Woods’ return to the head of the world rankings and the subsequently ludicrously short odds he commands.

If taking a punt on the best golfer of the modern era is your wont, you would have done well to get anything better than 6/1 and the chances are you’d have settled for 4/1 for the first of the year’s four major events.

Barely worth touching unless you’re loaded, however, signifying that Woods is back to where he belongs and that the career obituaries that were penned in the aftermath of his extra-marital shenanigans were perhaps a fraction premature.

There is little doubt that the 37-year-old’s game lost its way - the results he was producing were testament to that - but ability like that doesn’t permenently take leave, especially when the protaganist has the determination that Woods evidently has.

Lesser players suffering a relatively similar slump in form, and I can think of a few with little effort, would be gone from the game for good and it would hardly have left his stellar reputation in ruins if Woods had given it away.

Fourteen major titles, including four Masters green jackets, and 104 professional tournament victories hardly represents a shabby CV.

And with the way he has started 2013 with three wins in his last four strokeplay outings would indicate that he will continue to add to his record.

Will that include a fifteenth major title?

I wouldn’t bet against it but if you do choose to put your cash on the American, and given the way the bookies have reverted to type, just don’t expect to get much in return.