Tiger Woods’ third-round 79 at the Farmers Insurance Open not only caught the eye of the golf public, but also the Las Vegas oddsmakers, who have installed Rory McIlroy as the favorite to win this week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic.
According to golfodds.com, McIlroy has the best odds, at 7-2, followed by Woods, a two-time winner of the event (2006 and ’08), at 6-1, and Henrik Stenson, at 12-1.
Considering the extraordinary level of success for Woods at Torrey Pines (seven Farmers Insurance titles and the 2008 U.S. Open), his early exit was surprise enough to raise questions about his game and keep him from being the favorite in Dubai.
For McIlroy, his last three results on the European Tour have been similar to that of the McIlroy of old: a tie for sixth at the WGC-HSBC Champions, T-5 at the DP World Tour Championship and T-2 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship. He also won the Australian Open late in 2013.
Although it’s an odd spot for McIlroy to be the favorite in a field that includes Woods, it’s not unprecedented. McIlroy was a 9-2 favorite last January in Abu Dhabi, with Woods a 7-1 pick. Neither played well, both missing the cut, and Jamie Donaldson won the title.