Tiger Woods: Out of the Doghouse and Back on the Golf Course?

After 144 days away from competitive golf, he’s back.  Tiger Woods teed off on Thursday at the world’s most famous golf tournament—The Masters.   He hit his drive straight, landing in the fairway and heard a polite smattering of applause from the fans gathered on the first tee.  But what is ahead for this fallen hero?

In case you’ve been in a cave or off the planet for the last five months, the number one golfer in the game has been embroiled in a sordid sex scandal involving more than dozen women claiming they have had affairs and sex-text relationships with Woods.  The dirty “sexts” (sexual texts) have been spreading rapidly over all media outlets, especially the Internet, for all to read. 

It has trashed his marriage, sent him into a treatment program, lost him sponsors and fans and has tarnished a previously wholesome reputation.

But, he has faced the music.  There was an appropriately ashamed, humble and contrite appearance at a news conference at the stately Augusta National Golf Club, and as for the public, there seems to be some forgiving as Woods heard some cheers from the crowds during a few pre-tournament practice rounds.
But, what will his performance be like in tournament play? He’s won The Masters four times, and is clearly quite comfortable on this course.  Will he contend, or will he be too rusty?

On the subject of his return, feelings are mixed everywhere. There are fellow golfers who are happy he is back because he’s good for business.  More people watch the tournaments when Woods is playing, and Tiger Woods Plays in the Mastersthat’s good for all the players on tour, as more people will see the sponsor logos they wear on their shirts, hats and golf bags.

All eyes will be on Woods to see if he’ll play well under what will be intense pressure and scrutiny.  Will he be able to shut out the scandal and will he be sharp?  Or, having been off since late November, will his game fall apart on this giant stage?

Fans calling radio talk shows are offering a variety of opinions. Some remain outraged at the skanky revelations and claims of scummy liaisons in hotels, bars, parking lots and elsewhere, and those fans want Woods to flop badly at the Masters.

Others say Woods is simply the best golfer in the world and while they are unimpressed with is personal choices and his moral compass, and feel sorry for his wife and kids, they love his skill on the golf course and want to see him dominate and silence the finger-wagging and judgmental talk.

Which way do you lean?  Do you hope Tiger is successful at the Masters….or do you want him to shank his key shots and crumble under the scrutiny?

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