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Shocker: Tiger Woods favored to win U.S. Open!

June 16, 2009 | 11:54 am

Tiger.500

OK, so it's hardly a shocker. But Tiger Woods, after his victory in the Memorial tournament two weeks ago demonstrated that he has fully recovered from the knee surgery that sidelined him for nine months, is the runaway favorite to win the U.S. Open this week at Bethpage State Park in New York.

Woods, who won the Open the last time it was played at Bethpage, in 2002, is listed as the 7-4 favorite by British bookmakers William Hill. That relegates everyone else to long shot status.

The second choice is the man who finished second to Woods in the 2002 Open, Phil Mickelson, at 14-1. Mickelson has finished second four times in the Open.

Woods is the Open's defending champion, having won at Torrey Pines a year ago despite a knee that caused him pain throughout. He had surgery shortly thereafter.

Now, much to the dismay of his fellow competitors, he's ready to go.

"It's good to be back and I've enjoyed playing out here," he said Tuesday "The practice rounds have all been good and I'm really looking forward to Thursday. I like my chances in any major....
     
"I feel great. It's fun because before, no matter what I did, I kept getting worse. No matter how hard I trained, the leg was deteriorating. I kept doing more damage to the thing. Now it's the exact opposite."

The third choice is Geoff Ogilvy at 16-1, followed by Jim Furyk (20-1), Paul Casey (25-1) and Steve Stricker (33-1). 

Furyk won the 2003 Open at Olympia Fields in Illinois, and Ogilvy won the 2006 Open at Winged Foot after Mickelson's disastrous double bogey on the 72nd hole.

The list at 40-1: Camilo Villegas, two-time Open winner Retief GoosenSergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy.

--Mike James

Photo: Tiger Woods meets the press Tuesday at Bethpage. Credit: Scott Halleran / Getty Images.

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