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. Nanban

    Go Tiger.... get it done, again. Let the media stop talking about your private life. You are capable of wining all 4 majors this year. We are with you all the wy!!

    April 5, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. KAY

    We all make mistakes. His are just amplified because of who he is. It's between him and his wife. We do not know how pristine clean other golfers and athletes are unless it leaks to the media. I think just because we thought he was perfect it shocked us. It's over move on. Let him play golf.

    April 5, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Benjamin Dover

    John Sharp, under what absurd pretense would golf have banned or justified banning Tiger Woods for 2 years? What crime did he commit?

    April 5, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Katherine Riebe

    I think Tiger Woods will be challenged to stay focused on his game come Thursday. He is a great golfer, now he needs self-discipline with his sex life. I hope he overcomes his tendencies to hop in bed with other women and instead focus his time and energy on his golf game. Good luck, Tiger.

    April 5, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. olesoldier

    Why the interest and time spent on Mr. Woods' character and extramarital affairs? He plays golf. People like (why, I don't understand) watching him play golf. He' ain't no stinking' priest, preacher, governmental leader, nor best buddy to everyone. How he comports himself is between himself, his wife, and various attorneys. Just watch the golfer golf and don't waste writer time ad web page space on his character. Or go ahead and cast the first stone. If you can.

    April 5, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MrDo

    What Tiger does in his personal life is none of my business, nor should it be. I live my life to my own set of standards and am accountable for my actions and those of my family only.

    I like to see Tiger play golf. That is all.

    April 5, 2010 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. BJ

    I think everyone shoudl leave Tiger alone and let him get on with his life. He's made a public apology, gone to rehab, now let's let him play golf and live his likfe. He made mistakes, we all do. Maybe we could all even with him well.

    April 5, 2010 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bologma

    I find it amusing that so many people who claim to be boycotting Tiger Woods have taken the time out of thier day to read this article and subsequently post comments about it. If you truly like golf, you will watch this man each and every time he plays. WAR TIGER!

    April 5, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Hans

    Good comments Ken sent in at 10:12. It's sickening to hear all the continuing "righteous" media hype from those who should look at themselves first before they cast stones. Get over it children... let the game begin.

    April 5, 2010 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. NYYANKEE

    Who really cares? He's only a golfer who had some outside extra curricular activity.

    April 5, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mark

    John Sharp mentioned that Tiger got off very easy because he's a celebrity and should be banned from Golf..... NO dude you're wrong!!! Tiger's personal life was put in the spot light because he's celebrity; moreover he did not have an extra marital affair with the game he cheated on his wife, get a life bloggers!

    I hope you're suspended or fired from your job if you were caught cheating....

    April 5, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mo

    I thought Tiger looked a bit chubby at his news conferences. Looks like he put on 15-20 lbs during his "exile". Wonder how that will effect his swing, back, and joints.

    April 5, 2010 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. edmundburkeson

    Too bad he does not pursue excellence in his personal life with the same passion.

    April 5, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Debit

    I think Tiger Wood's return is upstaging the Masters. This is the Super Bowl of golf and the focus should be on the game and all of the players. I think this move is very bad form and Mr. Woods should be ashamed of himself for degrading his sport. But apparently he rules the sport as much as he rules his press conferences. This is not the kind of man I want my children looking up to. I have lost any respect I had for him.

    April 5, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Odysseus

    People should know better then to idolize sports figures. It doesn't take much intelligence to become good at sports, and in his case, he really displayed how unintelligent he can be.

    So who is to blame, Tiger or you?

    April 5, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
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