Tiger Woods took the podium looking better than he did just a few short months ago. He sat in front of a full media room with his white Tiger Woods hat on, sporting a new goatee, and took every question that was fired at him whether it was about golf or what has transpired with him over the past several months.
While he didn't answer every question with every detail, he was a lot more open than even I expected. Tiger looked under control during every question, he never raised his voice, sounding even keel the entire time.
He was asked about whether Elin would be in attendance this week to which Tiger replied, "Elin will not be here this week, no." When asked about the night of the accident, his only response was that the police had fined him $166 and that everything was in the police report. Not shocking that he didn't divulge any details of what happened leading up to it.
He was genuinely surprised by not only the response by the fans who followed him around during his practice round today as well as some of his peers. Tiger at one point said he was surprised at the amount of hugs he had received from his fellow players.
While Tiger might be getting good reactions this week, don't expect that to continue as Augusta has a strict policy and will revoke credentials or spectator passes for good if any bad behavior is exhibited.
That won't be the case as Tiger ventures out on tour to places that don't have that kind of security or expectations of their fans. At Augusta, there are no cell phones, no signs, and no cameras. On the rest of the tour, there will be all of that and so much more.
So how is Tiger prepared to handle life outside of Augusta? He admitted that this week is easier than any other tournament on the PGA Tour swing and that it is a more controlled environment for him to make his return.
It's not known whether Tiger plans on keeping a full PGA Tour schedule after the Masters completes but, as we've come to know Tiger, he is very much in control of where he plays and when. I don't expect that to change after Sunday comes and goes, whether or not he's in the hunt for another green jacket.
He knows the responses from fans will not be all that friendly, though there will be those that will support Tiger and offer him a smile and an appreciative clap. Then there are those that will shout all sorts of things to Tiger to try and rattle him, just to get their 15 minutes of fame to say they rattled the great Tiger Woods.
Speaking of rattled, Tiger talked about how he was going to try to limit his outbursts, both negative and positive. He told the media, "if I limit my negative outbursts, it will limit my positive outbursts. I can't do one without the other." Does that mean we will see a lack of fist pumps after a big putt or the club being dropped after a bad shot?
Only time will tell. There are only a few days left before Tiger makes his first tee shot of not only the 2010 PGA Tour season but the 2010 Masters as well.
Tiger is very much in control of what happens from here. It's up to him how well he plays and it's up to him how long he sticks around. It's also up to him on where his marriage goes from here and how he turns his own life around.
He knows that the work is just beginning and he intends to continue his outpatient rehabilitation for "sex addiction." Tiger says he's a much better person for it.
If that's the case, we may see a gentler Tiger. One that none of us have ever seen before. But could that gentleness make Tiger even more dangerous than he's ever been before?
Time will tell.