Tiger Woods made a gentlemanly gesture — giving Europe's Francesco Molinari that last putt of the final match of the Ryder Cup — and it ended up costing bookies millions of dollars, according to reports.
Woods, playing in the last match, held a 1-up lead on Molinari on the 18th hole, but when Europe clinched its 14th point to assure itself of winning the Cup, the Woods-Molinari match did not matter — except to the bookies throughout England and Las Vegas.
Looking back at the three-foot putt he called "inconsequential," Woods could have holed it and beaten Molinari and the 39th Ryder cup would have ended in a 14-14 draw. But he missed the shot and decided not to force Molinari to make his par from a similar distance.
That conceded the hole to to Molinari, halved their match, giving Europe the outright 14-1/2 to 13-1/2 win.
"To be honest, I really didn't pay that much attention," said Woods. "I was trying to get my point."
While Woods didn't care if he had beaten Molinari and it ended in a draw, bookies are facing huge payouts because of Woods' concession to his opponent. Otherwise, the bookmakers would not have had pay the bettors who gambled Europe would beat the Americans. That left bookies having to pay the bettors who placed bets on the Europeans coming back from a 10-6 deficit that day.
Betting firms said they were facing the biggest Ryder Cup payouts ever despite —only moments earlier — they were looking it an bookies' ideal result of a draw.
This comes on the heels of Vegas bookmakers still licking their wounds after the Green Bay Packers-Seattle Seahawks Hail Mary fiasco last week.
To put it in simpler terms. Bettors who wagered on Europe to win outright were quoted at 33-1 odds when the visiting team trailed 10-4 Saturday morning.
Tiger's magnanimous gesture had Vegas paying out big time Sunday night. And, incredibly, Woods apparently had no idea he had a chance to win.
"I went one-up at 17 and I asked Joey La Cava (his caddie) what was going on down 18 because my responsibility was to be able to get my point. Then they said Europe had a chance to win on this hole, or retain the Cup," Woods said. "After all that settled down. My putt was useless. It was inconsequential.
"So I hit it too quick and gave him his putt and it was already over."
It might be some consolation to the bookies that the real loser Sunday was the U.S. team who folded like a pair of threes in a high-stakes poker game. Nah ... I doubt it.