Bettors not soured on Tiger Woods, despite persistent back woes

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At some point, people are going to stop betting on Tiger Woods to win the Masters. We haven't reached that point yet.

Since August at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, more than 100 bets were placed on Tiger Woods to win the Masters. Out of the 108 golfers offered at sportsbook operator CG Technology, Woods attracted the 19th-most Masters bets. And not all of these seemingly risky wagers -- described as "donations" by some -- were small, either.

"We took a $1,000 wager on him at 50-1, after he showed some signs of life in the tournament in December down in the Bahamas," said SuperBook assistant manager Jeff Sherman. "Prior to him withdrawing, he was our largest liability on the [Masters] betting board. He was top five in ticket count at the time too."

Woods officially withdrew from the Masters on Friday, citing a lack of readiness due to time spent rehabbing his troublesome back. His last win came Aug. 4, 2013, at the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. His last major championship was at the 2008 U.S. Open.

He hasn't played since pulling out of a European Tour event in Dubai on Feb. 3.

He missed the entire 2015-16 season after undergoing multiple back surgeries. It has been a struggle ever since, but there are still believers willing to wager that Woods will win again.

"No matter how poor his form is, this is a guy who's won 14 majors," Sherman said. "So people still want to back him, hoping to catch lightning in a bottle. They just disregard what he's done the last few years and they'll support him. People always like to bet a little to win a lot; and to be able to do that on a name like Tiger Woods, they're always going to do that."

Sherman, a respected golf odds specialist, had Woods at 50-1 when he posted his opening Masters odds on Aug. 1. In February, after Woods withdrew from the Dubai Desert Classic, Sherman lengthened his odds to win the Masters to 100-1 and attracted some bets.

"Most of the European market had like 50-1 on him," Sherman said. "To be double the odds on Tiger I guess was attractive to some people."

The majority of sportsbooks do not refund futures bets on golfers who withdraw before the tournament, meaning all the money bet on Woods to win the Masters this season will remain with those books.

The SuperBook, however, is one of the few sportsbooks that requires a golfer tee off to start the tournament for a bet to be official; otherwise, bets are refunded, something that is becoming a tradition like no other in Las Vegas.

"We've already started the refund process," Sherman said, "but still have over 100 that are outstanding on him."