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. ken chicago

    With all of the problems in the world, with all of the political lies floating the airwaves and the newspapers, why does the mainstream news media cover the sex life of a golfer? Are news journalists all sexual perverts? Are they that fascinated with sex? No wonder people have stopped their newspapers and changed the channel. All we get on the news is sex, hate, and misinformation. I wonder how that is taught in the colleges.

    April 5, 2010 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. Pepe Santos

    We can all learn a lesson from Tiger and his wife – nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes, and people are defined by how they react to adversity. Anybody can handle life when things are going great. But when everything falls apart, a strong person will suffer a temporary setback, and then recover and come back stronger than before. Failure is the best teacher of all.

    April 5, 2010 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  3. elvis

    Tiger will be fine....the world is happy to see him return...he was a golfer first...he will win the Masters!

    April 5, 2010 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  4. khfrysinger

    Tiger is a disgrace. I used to think he was one of the most brilliant, beautiful human beings in sports. Now I just think he's a schmuck. I will never watch anything he does nor will I buy any product he endorses.

    April 5, 2010 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
  5. Jacob

    Being an amateur golfer, I am ashamed to know that such a disgraced, immoral boy is back on the tour. He should've called it quits, not for himself, but for the maintenance of golf's integrity.

    April 5, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. Superman

    We're sick of hearing all this blah, blah talk about his personal life ( it happens to people everyday ) ..... Do you really care anymore? NO! Let the guy play golf.... Finally something to enjoy. Tiger is back! Awesome!...... Can't wait to watch the Masters.....

    April 5, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. RusRus

    I hope the fans are not affraid to ask the questions on their minds. This exclusive club crap has to go. I personally promise to boycott any company or product that advertises during this circus, or has a relationship with Tiger.

    Makes me sick to think a useless person can earn so much for doing so little, while billions toil for pitances so people like him can pretend they are special. Of course there is no shortage of SHEEPLE.

    April 5, 2010 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |

    when Tiger stopped golfing I stopped watching golf. Now that he is back I'll start again. And I am not a golfer. I just love watching someone with the ultimate in competitiveness. Like Michael Jordan.

    April 5, 2010 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
  9. Slim Country

    He is a pro athete that will have some butterflies at first but will soon get into his playing mode and his skills will take over from there. I don't expect him to win, but finishing in the top 10 is very possible with his game. Good luck Tiger, good to see you back in the game that has missed you for some time now.

    April 5, 2010 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. WDrad

    I hope he wins it.

    April 5, 2010 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  11. C. Harris

    Im glad to see him back in the game. Golf has been hurting really bad since the incident.

    April 5, 2010 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
  12. John Sharp

    This guy got off very easy because he is a celebrity and a slap on the wrist, he should be ban from golf for at least two years. He never showed good faith and the only thing he is sorry about is that he got caught bottom line, he waited months to speak out and only did so not on good will but was forced to by different sources and pressures.

    The average Joe would not get off this easy, there are a lot of people out there with a lot of problems barely making a living this guy was given a great opportunity and he made a choice to be a bad role model for a lot of people.

    This is another example of just celebrities doing whatever they want with no consequences.

    April 5, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. Gust

    Good for Golf and good for all the self-righteous prigs who have never sinned. Let the guy come back at whatever pace he chooses, he does not owe YOU anything. He does own his wife and kids and we have no biz in that anyway. Any other "debt" he owes will be paid in how he chooses to conduct himself going forward . . . just like the rest of us.

    April 5, 2010 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  14. Alice Smith

    Let the man play golf and mind his own personnal business

    April 5, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  15. Steve

    It is only because he is a "Star" athlete that he has been placed under such a microscope. Many other people all over the world are unfaithful in their marriages and they arent crucified for it. Hats off to him for coming back and I hope he does well to prove everyone wrong. He will go down in history as possible the greatest golfer to ever live misdeeds aside.

    April 5, 2010 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
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