Tiger Woods has not won a major title in four years but the former world number one has been installed as the overwhelming favorite for this week's U.S. Open at the Olympic Club by several leading odds-makers.
The American's victory on a demanding layout at the Memorial tournament two weeks ago in Dublin, Ohio, suggested he is close to his best and he is the top choice for the year's second major based on a survey of 20 bookmakers.
Woods, who won the most recent of his 14 major titles at the 2008 U.S. Open, has been made an 8-1 favorite by British bookmakers Ladbrokes and William Hill. Both odds-makers rated world number one Luke Donald and third-ranked fellow Briton Lee Westwood joint second best at 12-1.
According to Ladbrokes, defending U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland is next best at 16-1 with American left-hander Phil Mickelson rated at 20-1.
Other fancies include American world number six Matt Kuchar and seventh-ranked Briton Justin Rose, both at 25-1, while Masters champion Bubba Watson is backed at a surprising 50-1.
Woods, a three-times winner of the U.S. Open who has triumphed twice on the PGA Tour this year, was the top choice by each of the 20 bookmakers surveyed.
The 112th U.S. Open starts on Thursday.
(Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in San Francisco; Editing by Frank Pingue)