Tiger Woods in Control of Destiny at Masters Tournament

Scott EisenlohrAnalyst IMarch 17, 2010

WINDERMERE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Tiger Woods practices golf outside his home on February 18, 2010 in Windermere, Florida. Woods will make a statement at the PGA Tour headquarters this Friday morning (February 19, 2010), according to a notice on the PGA Tour's web site.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

When Tiger Woods, on a bum knee, beat Rocco Mediate in an 18-hole playoff to win the 2008 U.S. Open. It was his 14th major title.

The father of two young girls was well on his way to becoming the greatest golfer who ever played the game. He was the darling of American golf enthusiasts and put golf on the map for many Americans who never followed the game before.

Let's face it. If Tiger were not married, this would not be a story.

But he is and his detail of impropriety and tales of promiscuity have felled this great champion.

He has not played in a PGA-sanctioned tournament since winning the Australian Masters on Nov. 15, 2009.

Recently Tiger Woods announced his return to golf at Augusta National on April 8—144 days since he last teed off in a competitive event.

Why Augusta? The history? Nah.

Where he won his first major in 1997 at age 21? That's what his statement said, in part.

He is coming back to the Masters so he can control the media exposure.

Crowds are limited and only a few ESPN (first two days) and CBS cameras are allowed on course.

Any normal golfer would miss the cut, coming off a five-month layoff.

But this is Tiger Woods. The man who obviously concentrated on his game while detailing his latest liaison after the round of golf.

Reports have been made that he is working with swing coach Hank Haney. And I am sure that he will play endless rounds of golf until Aprll 8.

As much as I have mixed feelings of his return, golf needs Tiger Woods.

While most of the mortal golfers are playing tournaments leading up to the Masters, Woods remains under wraps.

If it were anybody else, they would miss the cut.

Tiger will prepare himself physically. It is the mental game that is in question.

If Woods can get himself in the proper mindset, he could challenge for his 15th major title.

My guess?

Golf purists will have to suffer not watching their favorite golfer not named Tiger Woods on TV coverage at -1, five strokes off the lead, while Tiger's every shot will be shown while he is carting a +6.

"Oh, my word, Tiger made birdie and now is +5," I can hear the announcer say, while Padraig Harrington leads the tourney at -6.

My favorite golfer in recent memory is V J Singh.

Someone like Singh, the Worlds number one golfer for 32 weeks in 2004 and 2005, has to be within four stokes of the lead to be shown on TV.

Ernie Els, Bubba Watson, Steve Stricker, all these type of golfers have to be within a few strokes of the lead to be shown on TV coverage at the Masters.

Phil Mickleson is the only golfer not named Tiger Woods who demands attention wherever he is on the leaderboard.

Tiger Woods is back. It is good for the game. Whether he wins or not, he will have tested the waters and got through the tournament with minimal media exposure.

I don't have to like it. It is an affront to sensibility. Let him play some tournaments before the Masters.



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