Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tiger's Return at Masters is a Stroke of Genius

There are reports from several media outlets today that Tiger Woods will return to the PGA Tour at one of his most successful stops, Augusta National, where he has won four green jackets.

This move makes quite a bit of sense. First, Woods has won at Augusta four times, although he hasn't won there since 2005 (perhaps due to the "Tiger-proofing" of the course).

Second, Woods has said throughout his career that his goal is to surpass Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 major championships. Sitting out a major, particularly one where he has had quite a bit of success, would make little sense.

More importantly, with the tough ticket at Augusta, even for the media, Woods will face only the credentialed media that the Augusta National allows into the venue for the storied event. This will prevent the invasion of tabloid media, who would want to talk about Tiger's sex life rather than his golf.

Woods is now working with former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, who has become a sports "crisis management" expert since his days in Washington. The move to return at the Masters has Fleischer's name written all over it.

Woods has apologized for his alleged affairs, and now hopes to return to the world where he once was the king. It will be interesting to see how Woods is received upon his return. A man who was once beloved by most fans will most certainly face scrutiny upon his return to the tour. How he handles that will be another interesting facet of his return to competitve golf.

So prepare yourselves Steve Stricker, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, etc. Tiger is coming back, and he's likely to be the Tiger of old.

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