The vigil is over. Tiger Woods ends his self imposed hiatus at the venerable Masters, April 8-11. This Average Golfer has said that the only remaining noteworthy news in the Woods saga was the date of his return to competitive golf. So, we have it.
Woods' presence props up what is traditionally a weak field in Augusta. With fewer than 100 players receiving one of the coveted invitations, and more than a few entrants not having the proverbial "snowball's chance", Woods' odds of returning with a victory are enhanced considerably. Couple that with the controlled grounds and atmosphere at Bobby Jones' exhibition and this becomes his logical choice for his first foray of 2010. Programming note...Don't look for him in the par 3 contest though. The loser in the equation may be Arnold Palmer. Woods' decision not to prep at Bay Hill will keep some butts off the grounds, although with the circus guaranteed to surround Eldrick's arrival, that may end up being a blessing in disguise.
How would you like to have been a fly on the wall in the Woods' household. "But honey, all the other guys are playing and I've got these expensive clubs that are growing mold.Yes, I promise to come straight home. Let's see, an hour for warm-up, a five and a half hour round, two hours travel on the jet, hmm, nine hours should cover it. I'll be back in the house by five."
Much ado has been made of the potential reaction at Woods' first event back. Will hecklers be out in droves? Will Woods provide any access for the press and their months long question preparation? The answer is who cares? What'll happen will happen eventually. Let the passion play develop at it's own pace. As for Woods' legendary control and manipulation of the media I have a quote from an old girlfriend......."At the end of the night you have to pay the band."