Tiger Woods: Is the Sports World Ready for His Highly-Anticipated Return?

Todd KaufmannSenior Writer IMarch 8, 2010

It's been almost five months since the Tiger Woods saga began and, even since that time, the sports world has been hanging on every bit of news that has come out. They also hung on every word that Tiger spoke during his press conference.

Now that Tiger has gone back into the shadows, showing up to the occasional driving range to keep himself sharp, new questions have arose as to when the phenom will return to the golf course. But if Tiger does return to the PGA Tour, will the sports world be ready for what will be the most anticipated return to a sport since Michael Jordan returned to the Chicago Bulls?

Whether or not we're ready for his return, Tiger is going to make his return to the PGA Tour and he's going to have a chip on his shoulder the size of the Grand Canyon. That may sound strange to say but with everything that's been said about him and with the shots being taken directly at him, fair or unfair, Tiger is coming for those who spoke.

He'll be colder than he's ever been to the media, more apprehensive to say anything at all. But Tiger is coming for what has been his since he stepped onto the golf stage. He's coming for the championships, the green jackets and the title as the world's best golfer and arguably best athlete today.

The trips to the driving range, the practice rounds he's been playing, it's all in preparation for a return that we all know is coming. The question that is being debated is: when will that return be?

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I've said since all of this came to a head that it would be better for Tiger not to return to the game this year. To take the time that he needed to fix himself and his marriage. To repair a marriage that is obviously close to falling apart and to spend time with the kids that he has also put in a bad position.

He needs the time away from the game, but is the game suffering that badly without him? Has the PGA Tour already lobbed softballs to Tiger, trying to get him to take a swing at one of them? Have they already asked him to come back at a certain time, needing the revenue and the crowds that only Tiger was able to bring to the tour?

Rumors will fly until Tiger announces when he will make his return. What will be even more interesting than the media frenzy that will ensue at whatever tournament he decides to make his return is how the players will receive him.

How will these players that spoke ill of him receive him back? Will they play nice with him, afraid that their bulletin board material will get them a beating they hadn't yet experienced on tour or will the continue to talk bad about him whenever they can? Hoping that their discouragement and words will drive Tiger off tour forever.

What these players don't realize is, Tiger has beaten just about everybody there is to beat. He's won just about every tournament there is to win on the PGA Tour, some of them a few times over. But to Tiger, words of discouragement and bulletin board material are the things that jack him up, that make Tiger who he is.

Make no mistake, he's written all of the names down and he will keep them in his back pocket and he will aim for each and every one of them. The US Open we saw him win at Pebble Beach back in 2000 was not only broken it was shattered. This was a record that had stood for more than one hundred years, and it's now a record that may never be touched, let alone approached.

This is arguably one of the best athletes of our time. He will return, and when he does, records will break fast and furious. And while his legacy will be forever tarnished, as long as Tiger wins bigger and better than he ever has before, media and fans alike will forget all about his indiscretions. Much like they have with Los Angeles Lakers' guard Kobe Bryant.

Tiger will be back and he will be better than ever before. When that will be remains a mystery to all except to Tiger himself.

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