Less than a month after his speech admitting to his sexual indiscretions and the fact he went into rehab, Tiger Woods is ready to comeback. And as expected — as I suggested in December — he’s coming back at the Masters in a couple of weeks.
Why? That’s pretty clear. For one, the media is completely controlled at the event. Augusta chairman Billy Payne can instruct the press that any question about anything other than golf is offline and many reporters — fearful their privileges to cover the event might be cut off — will fall into line. If you don’t think that’s true, just ask someone like Gary McCord what happens when you tangle with the Green Suit Coats at the Masters.
Beyond that, spectators, fearful that a burly security guard will rip their patron’s badge off their double-mercerized Masters shirt after they give the world’s best golfer a “Tiger, what were you doing with a Perkins waitress behind an Orlando church?” heckle, will likely fall into line. At least they’ll be respectful, which can’t be said for many of the events that are open to the general public.
Tiger can say The Masters was the earliest he could play golf, but I don’t think anyone is buying that.
Given both those factors, it makes sense that Augusta would be the choice, though I wonder what the big deal was about the press conference a month ago. Seems like it was just a plot point in the comeback strategy.
Anyway, here’s what the game’s best player said on his website:
Tiger Woods announced Tuesday that he will begin his 2010 season at the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in April.
“The Masters is where I won my first major, and I view this tournament with great respect. After a long and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I’m ready to start my season at Augusta.
“The major championships have always been a special focus in my career and, as a professional, I think Augusta is where I need to be, even though it’s been awhile since I last played.
“I have undergone almost two months of inpatient therapy, and I am continuing my treatment. Although I’m returning to competition, I still have a lot of work to do in my personal life.
“When I finally got into a position to think about competitive golf again, it became apparent to me that the Masters would be the earliest I could play. I called both Joe Lewis and Arnold Palmer and expressed my regrets for not attending the Tavistock Cup and the Arnold Palmer Invitational. I again want to thank them both for their support and their understanding. Those are fantastic tournaments, and I look forward to competing in them again.
“I would also like to thank the Augusta National members and staff for their support. I have deep appreciation for everything that they do to create a wonderful event for the benefit of the game.”