Some bookmakers are offering odds of 16-1 that Tiger Woods will mark his return to golf with a sensational win at the Bridgestone Invitational this week.
The event, which begins this week, will see Woods make his first appearance in a competition since he limped out of The Players’ Championship after just nine holes, 12 weeks ago.
At such odds, Woods is considered by most placing free bets to be the fourth favorite to win the tournament, testament to his undoubted ability as a player.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is a Northern Irishman who goes into the event as favourite. US Open winner Rory McIlroy will be looking to put a disappointing British Open behind him, and remind the world that he is one of the finest players in golf at the moment.
England’s Lee Westwood is another who will be hoping to win this week – he is second favourite, just ahead of Steve Stricker.
But it is Woods who will no doubt be the main talking point.
There are many questions that cannot be answered until he gets out onto the course and shows everyone what level he is at.
How will his knee hold up? How will he fare without his former caddie, Steve Williams on the bag? What is his swing going to be like?
Woods feels that he is ready for a return, and believes that his knee is fine, having given himself plenty of time to recover.
“I’ve learned my lesson from the past and not come back too early,” Woods admitted. “The great thing is, I don’t feel a thing, everything feels solid, stable and there’s no pain.
“That’s why I took so long to get back. It feels good to go out there, hit balls and feel ready to do anything I want on the course.”
By the time he has completed his first round, he and the viewers will know for sure whether that really is the case.
Woods goes into the tournament ranked number 28 in the world. Any true golf fan would love to see him make it back to somewhere near the top.
It will be the lowest ranking he has entered a competition at in countless years, but as those placing a free bet suggest, he will always be among the favorites to win the big events.
To return to where he belongs, Woods believes that a few changes in his game were needed – it was time to freshen up.
One of those changes will see Woods’ life long friend Byron Bell replace his caddie of 12 years, Steve Williams on the bag.
Letting Williams go was a tough decision for Woods.
He said: “We had a nice conversation, it was a tough conversation. I did it face to face, man to man. I felt it was time for a change.
“Steve and I had an amazing run, he’s a hell of a caddie, he has helped my career and I have helped his. I’ve felt comfortable with the move.”