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Tiger the Odds On Favourite to Top the PGA Tour in 2011

Tiger Woods didn't win a single tournament in 2010, but that hasn't deterred bookmakers from putting the former world #1 at the top of the betting board for the coming PGA Tour season.


As has been said in these columns before, there's still no other player who could honestly be considered an equal to Woods in terms of pure talent and it would be foolish to bet against him in 2011.


He finished strong in 2010 and looks to be getting his game in order, as he posted five straight top-15 finishes to end the PGA Tour season. Much of this late success could be credited to the work he's done with swing coach Sean Foley who joined Tiger full-time just before his late run of success to end the year.


The bookmakers certainly aren't betting against Eldrick putting him at even odds to be at the top of the PGA Tour money list in 2011.


Coming in second with the bookmakers' 2011 PGA Tour futures is world #4 Phil Mickelson.


It's a somewhat curious selection that's based more on public perception than the quality of play Mickelson showed in the second half of the 2010 season.


Lefty had just one top-10 finish in the final six months of the PGA Tour season and struggled in the Ryder Cup.


It's very possible the end of year break could help get Mickelson's game back on track, but he had just a single win in 2010, granted it was The Masters, and only six top-10's in what was one of the most pedestrian years of his career.


If recent history is any indication, the books putting him second at (8-1) seems like a bit of a stretch.


The third man on the betting board is, frankly, the player who should be second.


Jim Furyk had a career year in 2010 picking up Player Of The Year honours in a season where he collected three wins and won the FedEx Cup.


If he picks up where he left off, with a season ending victory at the Tour Championship, he'll be a formidable challenge Tiger throughout the season.


Accordingly, the oddsmakers have him just behind Mickelson at (12-1).


Other notables. The books' fourth choice at (14-1) is young gun Dustin Johnson who could easily have won the 2010 PGA Championship if not for a disastrous rules blunder in the final round that cost him two shots.


Behind Johnson is Open champion Graeme McDowell at (20-1) who finished 2010 in fine fashion, but plays sparingly in America which may diminish his chances at the PGA Tour money title.


From the land of long odds, the long hitting Bubba Watson, who lost to Martin Kaymer in a playoff at the 2010 PGA Championship, is at (100-1) to be the top earner on the Tour this season. He certainly would be a long shot, but last season was his best year as a pro. If he continues to improve, anything is possible.


Finally, Hunter Mahan starred in the Ryder Cup even with his singles loss to McDowell. Furthermore, Mahan captured two victories last season against strong fields at the Phoenix Open and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.


Consequently, Mahan seems like an interesting pick at (50-1).



Golf is a game in which you yell “fore”, shoot six and write down five - Paul Harvey

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