So a month later than advertised, Tiger Woods made his long-awaited return to action last week at the Hero World Challenge, where his performance on the second day had the punters in a rush to back him for next April’s Masters.
Woods, a four-time winner at Augusta, could be backed at 40/1 with Ladbrokes last Wednesday to earn his fifth Green Jacket, but that price has been slashed almost in half, with Stan James now offering the best odds of 25/1.
After opening with a rusty 73 on Thursday, Woods blitzed the Barbados course with a round of 65 on Friday that had bookmakers racing for cover as money flooded in.
It does seem something of an over-reaction, however, as the New Providence layout is one of the softer challenges the players face and this 18-man event is known to be something of a friendly knockabout to bring the curtain down on the year.
Woods may have been swinging the club smoothly, but he would have felt nothing like the pressure of a major tournament – or even that of a typical PGA Tour event.
Woods finished 14 shots behind the winner Hideki Matsuyama in Barbados and the Japanese star, who also won the HSBC-WGC Champions event in Shanghai recently, looks a better option at the best odds of 20/1 with Sky Bet to win the Masters 2017.