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Sportsbooks evade eight-figure liability on Tiger Woods

Updated May 17, 2019 - 7:58 pm

Las Vegas sportsbooks avoided an eight-figure liability on Tiger Woods to win the 2019 Grand Slam when the golfer missed the cut Friday at the PGA Championship.

Books also evaded a six-figure liability on Woods to win the second major of the year when he followed up a 72 in Thursday’s first round with a 73 in the second round at Bethpage Black.

Woods closed as an 8-1 favorite to win the PGA after winning his 15th major at the Masters in April.

“It was interesting that he hadn’t played a tournament between the Masters and now. You could see some rust,” Westgate sportsbook manager Jeff Sherman said. “That’s unusual to take that approach.”

James Adducci of La Crosse, Wisconsin — the bettor who won $1.19 million at a William Hill sportsbook on an $85,000 wager on Woods to win the Masters — lost a $100,000 bet at William Hill on Tiger to win the Grand Slam that would have paid $10 million at 100-1 odds.

The Westgate avoided a seven-figure liability on Tiger’s Grand Slam prop, which closed at 40-1 amid heavy action.

Caesars Entertainment sportsbook actually wanted Woods to win the Slam. A bettor placed a $20,000 wager before the Masters that Tiger would not win all four majors this year and can now cash the ticket and collect the $20 profit.

Woods was the largest PGA liability at Caesars and the Westgate — which took a $10,000 wager on him to win $100,000 — and one of the largest at MGM Resorts and CG Technology sportsbooks.

“The amount of money we would’ve lost to Tiger, we would’ve happily lost because that money would’ve been spent or bet back in some way,” Caesars risk manager Jeff Davis said.

Bettors who faded Woods cashed tickets up to plus 650 at the Westgate that he would miss the cut.

“That’s the thing with Tiger,” Sherman said. “He’s so polarizing. You get it on both ends.”

Books dodged a bullet on Woods but will lose a bundle on Brooks Koepka, who closed as the 10-1 third choice to win the PGA and will take a seven-stroke lead into Saturday’s third round.

Opening with rounds of 63 and 65, Koepka set a 36-hole major scoring record with a two-round total of 128.

Koepka is the largest liability at MGM and also will make a loser out of Caesars and the Westgate if, as expected, he wins his fourth major in the past two years.

“God himself couldn’t stop a Koepka win,” The Mirage sportsbook manager Scott Shelton said.

At adjusted odds at the Westgate, Koepka is a minus 400 favorite to win the PGA and is expected to open as the 6-1 favorite to win the U.S. Open in June at Pebble Beach.

“It will be Koepka, then Dustin Johnson, then Tiger and (Rory) McIlroy after that,” Sherman said. “Koepka has proven how tough he is. He’s got that Tiger mentality. He plays aggressive golf, and he’s not afraid of the moment like some golfers are.”

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Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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