Prop bets abound for Tiger return

London bookmakers list Tiger Woods as a 4-1 favorite to win the Masters next week, even though his only notable drive in the past five months was into a tree and he didn’t use a club.

Proposition bets are more intriguing about what to expect at Augusta National from the philandering 34-year-old who has won the Masters four times.

Among the offerings: Will he have an argument? Will he throw a club? Will he break a club in anger? Will there be a streaker on the final green?

And the longest odds of all: Will his wife, Elin Woods, be seen in the crowd?

■ RACER WASTES HORSEPOWER — Police charged Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton for improper use of a car Friday when he was caught spinning the tires on a $150,000 Mercedes sedan as he accelerated away from the Albert Park racetrack after qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix near Melbourne.

Police confiscated the 2008 F1 world champion’s borrowed Mercedes, which was released Monday.

The excessive show of horsepower — on the streets and not the track — brought unexpected attention to the sport’s “Make Roads Safe” program to raise awareness of global road safety.

In 2007, Hamilton’s personal car was impounded in France after police caught him speeding.

■ GROUNDED DRIVER — Denny Hamlin was not jumping for joy after winning Monday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Martinsville, Va. And he didn’t proclaim his intent to visit Disneyland to celebrate the victory.

Hamlin, actually, couldn’t jump. He will visit a fantasy land, but it will be courtesy of anesthesia.

He is scheduled for arthroscopic surgery today in Charlotte, N.C., to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in January during a pickup basketball game. He’s expected to race in two weeks near Phoenix.

■ COSTLY RACE — Jeff Gordon was upset when a late spin in Monday’s NASCAR race forced overtime laps with him a few hundred feet from winning.

The extended race also was costly for a fan in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Tom Hoard II had parked his uninsured Suburban near a neighbor’s tree before a storm with 49 mph winds moved in.

Hoard says two laps were left in the race and he didn’t want to leave his television to move his SUV.

By the time the race ended, part of the tree had crashed through two fences, cracked Hoard’s front windshield and dented his fender.

■ DOGGED MARADONA — Diego Maradona led Argentina to the 1986 World Cup title and for that is revered by his countrymen despite past reports of drug addiction, eating disorders and scandals.

The 49-year-old now coaches his country’s national team, which barely qualified for this year’s World Cup.

Maradona, however, is keeping a stiff upper lip when fielding criticism about his team’s sub-par play.

Actually, he doesn’t have a choice. He was discharged from a Buenos Aires hospital Tuesday after reconstructive surgery on his upper lip was needed to repair damage from where his pet Shar-Pei bit him.


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