So far, it seems that the Tiger Woods who will tee it up at Augusta in a couple of weeks is the same Tiger Woods we last saw in November when the sex scandal that rocked his life and all of golf became public.
Tuesday’s revelation that Woods will play the Masters blew up my theory that he would wait as long as he could before confirming what event would earn the distinction of hosting his return to competitive golf.
He has, of course, done the right thing by giving lots of notice that he will be at Augusta, but he continues to cynically avoid the media and, by extension, golf fans because he realizes that both groups can be controlled among the magnolias and azaleas.
Control has been the key word since Tiger started poking his face into the public last month with that bizarre televised chat he had at TPC Sawgrass. Of course, that was limited to friends, families and confidantes, with nobody allowed to say anything but Tiger.
There’s been no indication that Woods will sit down with the media once he gets to Augusta either, but even if that happens, he can be assured that it won’t be the tabloid media that has made his life miserable these last four months.
As it stands right now, Woods has broken tackles and has brilliantly wiggled his way back into the world he once dominated. While he appears to have avoided the media, it will be a media bonanza through television ratings.
That, of course, works for the television networks, the Masters, the PGA Tour and Woods, who may well catch the eye of potential new sponsors with the wow numbers that go along with his first round at the Masters.
It won’t, however, work for the those fans and media who don’t seem to be getting the mea culpa they desired to get some insight into why Woods did what he did.
As for that, I’ve always wondered what they expected to hear or whether they expected him to produce scorecards on each of his different bed or trapeze partners. If you haven’t noticed, Tiger isn’t one to give up personal information at the best of times and right now, he’s more concerned with protecting his family.
The first round of the Masters will be one of those events that we will tune into and remember for years about where we were when we witnessed it, although visually, we won’t be able to tell what’s going through Woods’ mind or what other players are thinking about the world’s No. 1 player stealing the thunder.
The curiosity of that first round will centre around whether it’s the same Tiger that we knew. Sure, his game might be rusty, but that will come around.
Judging by his controlling nature and manipulation of the media, it is indeed the same Tiger Woods that goes to Augusta and, likely to the chagrin of those who judge him harshly for his transgressions, that’s good news for the golf industry.
That buzz about his return over the next few weeks – like it or not – combined with the spectacular weather that many are reporting across the country so early in the year should get the 2010 golf season off on a positive note.