Tiger Woods recently announced that he will be returning to golf at the Masters, April 8-11. After his recent personal problems, questions surrounding Tiger's return are aplenty?
How will he actually perform in his return to the tour?
Will Elin be there?
How will his fellow pros react to him?
The answers to these questions, and others, lie inside my 10 Bold Tiger Woods Predictions for the Masters.
In some aspects, yes. I expect Tiger to make an effort to be calmer and more controlled. He doesn’t want to give anyone any reason to take a shot at him.
On the other hand, the man is an extremely fierce competitor. If he makes a mistake and dumps a tee shot into the gallery, don’t expect him to just smile and wave to the crowd. He won’t, and shouldn’t, change his demeanor at the price of his competitive nature.
Absolutely. Tiger probably swears more on public television than anyone else in history. Right or not, it’s his natural reaction when things go awry on the course, and likely not something he can stop doing anyway.
Remember that, first and foremost, Tiger is playing in Augusta to win the tournament, not to repair his image. There is no reason to think he’ll react differently to mistakes on the course.
I think it is inevitable that TMZ or a similar “news” site will sneak its way onto the course. However, the representative will want to keep from getting booted off the course and therefore will keep their identity hidden.
Consequently, we won’t even be aware that the representative was present until the site releases some idiotic story the next day, which will probably make some ridiculous claim about Tiger doing a double-take at a pretty girl in the gallery.
The reactions of other pros to Tiger will likely vary greatly. The truth is that most pros converse very little on the course to begin with, so I certainly don’t expect much chatter between Tiger and his playing partners during rounds.
Off the course, most pros won’t have much to say to Tiger. I am sure he’ll receive the cold shoulder from some pros, but most will treat him no differently than they have in the past. Nonetheless, clubhouse interactions are sure to be awkward.
Publicly, I expect most pros to make statements that fall somewhere between, “No comment,” and “It’s nice to see Tiger back on the course.” In other words, they aren’t going to say much. Of course, there will be a few outspoken pros who don’t hold back their true feelings about Tiger.
Absolutely not. The best piece of evidence to suggest this is the fact that she was not present at the infamous apology press conference. It appears that she is not ready to make a public appearance of any kind with Tiger.
Furthermore, we aren’t certain where their marriage stands at this point. There is no reason why Elin should show up at the Masters and expose herself to the questions and comments that would certainly accompany her presence.
First of all, I think the word 'scandal' will be deemed too strong for CBS’s coverage. I don’t expect anything stronger than the word saga to be used to describe Tiger’s situation. The CBS brass will tread very lightly on the issue, and discuss absolutely none of the specifics.
The ironic thing will be the fact that CBS spent months feeding us every horrible detail of the scandal. However, with Tiger back in the limelight and ratings at stake, they’ll pretend to know very little about everything that’s happened.
The bottom line is that Tiger is a money-maker for the PGA Tour and CBS. They need to do everything they can to assure that he is the rating’s monster he was before, up to and including pretending that the scandal never happened.
I expect ratings to go through the roof. Ratings are always great for the Masters, but I think that new records could be set in 2010. Everyone will be tuning in to get a look at Tiger.
His followers will tune in to see his return. His haters will tune in with hopes of seeing him fail. Casual fans will be far more interested in Tiger’s return following the scandal than they would be to see him in any old tournament. I even expect people who have never or rarely watched golf to tune in to see Tiger’s story play out.
If you think about, Tiger may be more famous right now than he ever has been in his career. Of course, it’s not for the right reasons, but his unprecedented level of fame could attract unprecedented ratings for Masters’ weekend.
I expect Tiger to do very few interviews during the tournament. He will politely decline most requests. In the interviews he does do, I expect him to say very little. He may address the scandal, but certainly won’t discuss any details.
I expect Tiger to state that he is focused on the tournament and not what has happened in the past. Furthermore, I expect him to say that he already addressed the issue in the press conference whenever interviewees ask questions that he did indeed address at said press conference. Ultimately, he will speak very little and say even less.
For one, the “Get in the hole,” guy will still be there! I don’t expect much difference in how the gallery reacts to Tiger. Most of the people who attend golf events, especially an event like the Masters, are golf enthusiasts who are far more interested in Tiger Woods the great golfer than Tiger Woods the bad husband.
Inevitably, there will be a few members of the gallery who hold Tiger’s infidelities against him. It wouldn’t shock me if one or two fans were escorted off the grounds by security for hurling comments at Tiger.
I expect Tiger to perform moderately well. In his return following the loss of his father, at the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in 2006, Tiger missed the cut, but I think he will fair better this time.
While the scandal, and the accompanying outfall of it, has certainly taken an emotional and physical toll on Tiger, I don’t think it compares with the loss of his beloved father. Therefore, I expect Tiger to return in a better physical, emotional, and mental state at Augusta than he did in 2006 at Winged Foot.
Ultimately, I believe he makes the cut, but never makes a real threat at the championship. His name could be up on the big board on Sunday, but he won’t get within striking distance of the leader.