Tiger makes his return to masters

Nathan Stacken

Nathan Stacken

With no paper next week, I need to talk for a few minutes about Tiger Woods and his return to golf. Here’s the point I want to get out: Forget about the stuff in his personal life for now. Golf needs Tiger Woods and you want to watch him compete on the golf course, especially at the Masters.

Think about it. The Masters tournament will be the most compelling it has been in a long time. Golf ratings have been awful so far this year. No one wants to watch guys like Charles Howell III or Chris Couch or Steve Marino. Who are these guys? The avid golf fan probably knows all of them, but as the ratings indicate, there aren’t nearly as many avid golf fans as there are “American Idol” fans.

CBS, who covers the Masters on Saturday and Sunday, wants as big an audience as they can get, and they will get it with Tiger making his return.

The average golf fan will definitely watch if Woods is playing. People who don’t like golf but have heard about Woods and his ordeals will watch. People who hate Tiger now will tune in to watch in hopes of seeing Tiger fail.

Do a lot of people want Tiger to be more open about that fateful Thanksgiving night last November when his life turned from perfect to hell in a matter of days? Absolutely! I’d love to hear just what happened.

Why did he drive his car into a tree? Why did Elin (Tiger’s wife) have a golf club in her hand and break the back windows of the car? I’d like to get some more details on why Tiger did what he did and how many other women he had relations with.

He’s given a few interviews, but he’s been very cautious with his words. Clearly his public relations team, who at one point included former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer, is making sure he doesn’t damage his public image more than it is already (various polls have shown that Tiger’s public image has dropped in the 40 to 50 percent range).

Who knows when Tiger will completely reveal and tell everyone what happened. We may never find out, but when Tiger tees off on April 8 at the Masters, there will be very few people who will be thinking about that. Everyone will be watching Tiger making his return to golf. The cameras will be clicking, rolling, and flashing in hopes of getting a glimpse of Woods back on the course.

ESPN and CBS will have a camera crew on him every second he is on the course, and all of the people watching on television will want to see every second of Tiger Woods’ round.

Will Woods win? Say that five times fast, but it probably won’t help you decide whether or not he will win.

It has been more than five months since Woods played a round of competitive golf, and coming back to the Masters is not an easy thing to do. This is not a ho-hum sort of deal. This is not the Shell Open from Houston. The Masters is for the Green Jacket, which Tiger has four of. There is going to be so much pressure on Tiger. Will that factor into his performance? It certainly could.

If he comes out and pulls a drive or misses a five-foot putt, we’ll know that Tiger is nervous. However, he has such great concentration when he is golfing. He will be completely focused on the task at hand. This is the biggest story in golf, and golf needs Tiger to bring in people to watch.

Make no mistake about it; records will be shattered in terms of how many people watch the Masters should Tiger be in contention on Sunday.

And if he wins the Masters, it will be one of the greatest sporting achievements ever, and I think everyone else will be watching Tiger’s every move and I am looking forward to watching the greatest golfer in the world come back.

Forget about everything else involving Tiger Woods. The real story, at least for one weekend, will be Tiger’s return to golf.