April 5th, 2010
12:12 PM ET

Media spotlight shines on Tiger at return to Masters

[Posted 10:00 a.m.] Tiger Woods returns to the sport Monday at the Masters, ending a self-imposed exile stemming from a car accident in November outside his home and his subsequent admission of extramarital affairs.

Woods is practicing this morning at Augusta National Golf Club, and is set to participate in a news conference - his second since the scandal broke - at 2 p.m. ET. (We'll carry the press conference on CNN Live and our partners at Golf.com will have a live blog)

The golfer - even since his early childhood - has thrived in the spotlight and it may shine brighter today than it has before with millions of spectators turning on nearly any channel to catch him - not even on the course but at a news conference. SI.com's Richard Deitsch (also a partner blogger for us on this blog) says the news conference will turn the Masters into one unlike any other.

And our partners at Time.com wonder if Tiger, let alone any athlete, can be mentally prepared for what will happen at the Masters this year given all the attention. The tournament, they said, will effectively be a test of his toughness in the face of all of the drama. For other golfers, the spotlight on Tiger could be a good or bad thing. Golf.com's Peter Kostis says while all eyes will be on Tiger at the start of the Masters, the real drama surrounds some of the players over 40 and under 30.

While some other players may have strong chances to take the tournament (and there are a variety of things golf fans are looking forward to at the Masters), many fans and even a plethora who never watch golf, certainly will be zeroing in on Woods' every move - just as they have since his whirlwind drama unfolded.

He delivered a carefully managed statement in March to a small, hand-picked crowd, and has given two one-on-one interviews, the news conference will be Woods' first in months. Golfer Brad Faxon, who has gone through his own similar turmoils, wonders in a column for Golf.com if this was the right return for Woods - given all of the hype and some of his recent decisions. Faxon isn't the only one who things Woods needs to make some big changes - our partners at Golf examine why the biggest change Woods needs to make might not be related to his marriage, his therapy, or his game, but instead to his inner circle.

Woods' public woes began with an early-morning crash November 27 outside his Orlando, Florida-area home. He suffered minor injuries after striking a fire hydrant and a tree with his Cadillac SUV. Woods - one of golf's biggest names who had always maintained a squeaky-clean image - was not required to talk to police about the wreck and declined to talk with investigators on several occasions. Eventually, he was cited for careless driving.

The wreck occurred days after the tabloid National Enquirer alleged Woods was having an affair with a New York nightclub hostess. The woman has denied the allegation, but several others have come forward to claim that they had sexual relationships with the fiercely private Woods, who is married to former model Elin Nordegren. The couple has two children.

Woods' alleged mistresses have released voice mails and text messages they claim are from the golf champion. In March, Woods said he would be in inpatient therapy until early February for "issues" he did not explain. He acknowledged multiple extramarital affairs.

The controversy prompted several corporations to suspend or drop their multimillion-dollar sponsorships with Woods, who also apologized to his business partners for his behavior.

soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Mary

    Tiger is the only reason I watch golf. If "My Tiger" is not playing I flip the channel. Golf was duller than dirt before Tiger came along. Because of him I now know a lot about the game and never miss a Master's if I can help it.

    April 5, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Gust

    Oh yes, you DO hear people saying Tiger "owes" them . . . at least in their bearing a grudge as if Tiger does owe SOMEthing. It's largely media who look for any dirt to create interest and sell their stories and promote their jobs. A wise journalist will back away from trying to extract something that will satisfy their "need" for info, it's a dead horse, it's stinky enough already and we're frankly tired of it. Get this press conference over, what more could we hear that helps anything? At least noting that is in the interest.

    April 5, 2010 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Brian

    Tiger's personal life should not be carried over into his professional golf life. Golf needs Tiger. As far as everyone ridiculing the man... Let He who hath not sinned cast the first stone! Every single person that has spoken out in this forum can not cast that stone. You don't have to respect Tiger as a man for his choices, but be respectful enough to understand he is trying to make ammends for what he did. Everybody deserves a second chance.

    April 5, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tony Hudson

    I think it is pathetic we are still reading about Tiger's problems. The man made a mistake. Get over it and leave him and his family alone. As usual, the media turns a private issue into a huge production that benefits no one except for the vultures chasing the story.

    April 5, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Paul

    Folks he works for himself. So he is accountable to himself. Not the PGA or the rest of us who think they know everything. There is NO reason for the PGA to sanction him in any way. I believe he has surffered more than you and I could ever imagine and will continue to do so. Before speaking, look at your own misgivings and choices. Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone....His private life is just that...stay out of his face.

    April 5, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mary

    Fine, he's back and "good for the game." But really, is he done with his tantrums on the course? Let's hope after being knocked down a peg or two, he will look at the game differently.

    April 5, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Garth

    People crack me up with all of their hate. Tiger is a person, just like all of us, with personality flaws, etc. He is without a doubt one of the best who has ever played the game of golf. Because of that, everyone holds him up on this pedestal of supposedly being this perfect man. He isn't. He isn't even a perfect golfer, just an incredibly great one. Nor is any other athlete perfect, nor is any person at all perfect. He made mistakes. Those are between him, and those involved in those mistakes. Anyone who refuses to watch golf, or buy products he endorses, or any of that garbage, simply because (unfortunately for Tiger) he got his mistakes aired in the most public forum needs to grow up more than a little. Buying products an athlete endorses does not mean you are going to become that athlete, or become afflicted with their perceived weaknesses/personality flaws. YOU make your own choices, and live with them. The difference is, your choices and mistakes are rarely plastered all over every newsstand and TV/Radio show.

    Did he make mistakes – heck yes he did.
    Will he learn from them – remains to be seen, but not our business
    Should we give him the chance to learn from them that we ALL wish we could have for our own mistakes – of course we should, or shut those hypocritcal mouths

    Personally, I say good luck, Tiger. Welcome back, and we wish you the best, both in golf, and in your personal life.

    April 5, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Brad

    In response to a earlier post, why would golf or any other sport suspend a player for cheating on their spouse. It makes no sense, does not change the outcome of the game. Should your work suspend you for being unfaithful? Same thins.

    April 5, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ERNIE

    CNN should stick to what they do best and that is reporting credible new.

    Personal problems like the Tiger has should not be abused.

    He is such a good guy. yes he made a mistake so as your parents and friends ans even yourself.

    like all politician we are all full of hipocracy.'

    Ernie

    April 5, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Matt

    Tiger, I pray to you find favor with GOD as you have with man. It's great to see you back on the golf course. It took a lot of guts and strength to put yourself into therapy vs running from your probllems. Your father must have been a great man. Best of wishes to you, your family, and friends.

    April 5, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Andy

    Tiger is a dirt bag. He did not make A mistake...he made lots of them over several years. I'm surprised how many people buy his "apology." The cavalier attitude that everyone has towards marriage is the reason why there are so many divorces nowadays. I hope he struggles badly this week.

    April 5, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. George

    Wow... a professional athlete committed infidelity. /rolling eyes....

    He's the best golfer in the history of the game. The sport needs him. – And we want him back.

    He'll deal with his indiscretions on his own time – as it should be. If you made a mistake, would you want someone to fire your from your job for 2 years. (Aimed at previous poster.) Please.......... give the guy some space, but let him get back to professional career.

    I, for one, am glad he is back. Golf is boring without him.

    April 5, 2010 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. mark

    #77 and others: As for him competing in Professional Golf, it certainly shouldn't impact his employability. If he were working for the government or private sector where confidentiality or secrecy is essential, he wouldn't and shouldn't be trusted.

    OTOH: Everyone should try to conduct themselves in a moral and just manner all the time and to their best ability as a human being.

    I am looking forward to him competing, hopefully at the same or better level than he has in the past. This is where he should be judged by us.

    I know I have fallen short of the mark (on character) too many times, and so have most of Tiger's accusers. Let's keep our eyes on the (golf) ball. Remember, we weren't hurt; his wife, his children, and other members of his family were hurt by this.

    We get a kick out of another's mistakes to make ourselves feel better; we consume voraciously reality and tabloid TV and similar-themed (tabloid-centered) print media.

    Jerry Springer and the ilk don't do well because they are good and can be seen as edutainment. They do well because many of us like laughing, looking derisively at others. You can deny this, but your actions and continued patronage speak volumes.

    April 5, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
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