TIGER Woods is among the outsiders as he prepares to return to competitive action in the JP McManus Pro-Am Invitational at Adare Manor tomorrow.
The 15-time major winner finished 47th at The Masters in April, but skipped the US Open last month and hasn’t competed since, withdrawing from the PGA Championship in May following a third round of 79.
Punters have been reluctant to get behind Woods’ chances of winning the two-day stroke play event at 40/1 with BoyleSports , leaving him well adrift of in-form favourite Rory McIlroy (10/1).
The Holywood man is joined by Jon Rahm at the head of the market, while world number 1 Scottie Scheffler has been backed into 11/1 from 12/1 to add to a series of victories this year, the highlight of which being his major breakthrough at the Masters.
Former Open Champion Shane Lowry will be hot footing it across to the County Limerick venue having teed it up at the Irish Open at Mount Juliet and the Offlay man is a popular 16/1 shot to top the leaderboard after the 36 holes.
Matt Fitzpatrick also makes his return after shedding his major maiden tag at the US Open and he is a 22/1 shot to take up where he left off at Brookline last month.
Lawrence Lyons of BoyleSports said: “The Adare Manor event provides a useful opportunity for many of the game’s biggest names to step up their Open preparation and it’s a very competitive field set to it up with the celebs.
“It’s no surprise to see American Scottie Scheffler backed into 11/1 from 12/1 given his form, but Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are the two fighting it out to tee off as favourite,” he added.
Virgin Media Television has secured Irish free-to-air rights to broadcast the tournament and will broadcast the tournament on Virgin Media Two from 2pm each day.
The current holders of the four Major championships – Matt Fitzpatrick, Scottie Scheffler, Justin Thomas and Collin Morikawa – are included in a star-studded field of professionals and amateurs.
They are joined by Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Leona Maguire, Brooks Koepka, Shane Lowry; former Ryder Cup captains Pádraig Harrington and Paul McGinley; Harry Redknapp, Kenny Dalglish, Bill Murray, Niall Horan and many more.
19 of the 24 competitors at last year’s Ryder Cup will be appearing at the Pro-Am, including ten of the current top eleven players in the world golf rankings.
Tournament host, JP McManus said it is incredible to see how many players from across the world are coming to play in the Pro-Am and he thanked them for offering up their time to raise money for charitable organisations in need.
“Let’s hope for a bit of sunshine to really make what we expect to be a very special couple of days in Limerick.”
The Pro-Am has helped raise over €140 million for charitable organisations in the Mid-West since its inception in 1990 with all funds distributed in their entirety to the charities.