Betting Odds for Hero World Challenge 2017: Can Tiger Woods Surprise a Strong Field?

Tiger Woods returns to professional golf on Thursday at the Hero World Challenge in Albany, The Bahamas, hoping to prove he is over the injury problems that have derailed a Hall of Fame career.

Woods, 41, has not played a round of professional golf since February when he felt back spasms at the Dubai Desert Classic. In between times, the former world number one and winner of 14 major championships entered rehab for an addiction to prescription drugs.

Now Woods is on the comeback trail once again, at the invitational tournament he hosts, albeit with tempered expectations. "I'm excited about coming back again," Woods said on Tuesday in quotes reported by USA Today. "My expectations have been tempered a little bit just because I’ve been away from the game for two years."

Woods made an attempt at returning in the Bahamas last December, and briefly raised hopes that he had conquered the problems that have stopped him encroaching any further on Jack Nicklaus’s Major record.

How do the bookmakers see Woods’s return going? It’s no surprise to find him at long odds, given the strength of a field containing eight of the world’s top ten players. Paddy Power, the Irish betting company, gives Woods the third-longest odds of all 18 players in the tournament. Woods is 30-1, ahead of Charley Hoffman and Kevin Chappell.

CBS ’s SportsLine tool gives Woods an even more remote chance of taking home the $3,500,000 winner’s prize. After simulating the event 10,000 times, SportsLine puts Woods bottom of the field at 45-1. Justin Thomas, the world number three, Jordan Spieth and world number one Dustin Johnson are priced at 6-1.

Thomas, Spieth and Johnson—in that order—are given the shortest odds by Woods is +3,300 along with Charley Hoffman and Kevin Chappell. There will be many golf fans—and Woods devotees—who will bet in hope more than expectation. But it’s unlikely to lead to many rewards this weekend.