In just over two weeks, Tiger Woods will make his much-awaited return to professional golf. So whilst we all eagerly look forward to the start of the Masters there is a more than juicy sub-plot that will dominate the preamble. Will Woods face up to the media? If he does, how will he handle a grilling in the press centre? What will be the reaction of the Augusta crowd?
In the build up to this year’s event, the president of CBS, the host broadcaster for the Masters was reported as saying that Tiger’s return would be ‘as big as Barack Obama’s inauguration.’ At first, this statement seems a rather over-zealous attempt at promoting the event but the saga that’s lingered at the heart of golf for almost six months now has been one of the biggest celebrity controversies of recent times. Sporting boundaries have been transcended as everyone, regardless of their interest in the game, has an opinion on the world’s greatest golfer.
As you may or may not already know, tickets to the Masters are rather hard to come by. Once a fan acquires a gate pass, he or she is elevated to ‘patron’ status and can attend the tournament every year. There are however, ways of getting tickets and early reports suggest that these are already selling for around £2,000.
As for Tiger himself, you may think he’s immune to first tee nerves but even he will be anxious about stepping into the public arena once again. As the spotlight of the world’s media inevitably descends to watch the crowds’ reaction to that opening blow, nobody at this stage knows quite what to expect. A recent press release sent to Golf Monthly towers from Ladbrokes has Tiger at 5/1 to be booed at the Masters. But before you feel too sorry for the world number one, spare a thought for his unlucky playing partners. That really is the draw that any serious contender will be desperate to avoid.