How unlikely is it that Stewart Cink will beat Tiger Woods in today's Match Play final?
I believe you'd have to quote the shortest science fiction tale ever written.
Out in Las Vegas the wisdom is that it's about 4 1/2- 1. (Tiger is -500 to win; Cink is +400.) Odds like that, gotta plunk our remaining $580 on Stewie.
(8AM UPDATE: Overnight the line has moved to Tiger -400, Cink +330. Apparently Cink has some believers out there....)
Why is Cink such a 'dog? It's not that he's a bad player. Indeed, for my money, he's presently the fourth best American in the game, behind Woods, Mickelson, and Furyk. (My apologies to Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson, both of whom are ranked ahead of him.) (By the way, has anyone noticed that there are only seven Americans ranked in the top 30 in the world right now?)
The problem, of course, is that playing Woods head-to-head-- whether in a final group or in match play-- is golf's answer to Fear Factor. You've got about as much chance of playing your normal game as you would with a mouthful of worms.
Look at what happened to J.B. Holmes on Wednesday. Look at what happened yesterday to Henrik Stenson, whose finding a way to lose culminated in laying sod over both a wedge and a chip on the final hole. Heck, it started happening to Stewart Cink the day before his match with Woods even started-- he started hitting it sideways yesterday as soon as it became apparent he would win his match against Justin Leonard.
It actually-- sorry, but I feel strongly about this-- pissed me off yesterday that every talking head in the business toed the party line and said Baddeley gagged on the two putts he had to beat Tiger.
In the post-match TV interview, when Steve Sands or Roger Maltbie (I forget which) suggested the misses resulted from pressure, Baddeley rightly got his back up and disagreed, reminding the interviewer that the first putt, a ten-footer, had four feet of break in it, and the second putt, a seemingly straight twelve-footer, was impossible to read.
Would love to see Stewie have a couple such chances at the end of today's match. But the sun never rises-- well, you know.