Tiger Returns Predictions

The interwebs are all atwitter with rumors of Tiger’s return to competitive golf by the Masters.

Last week, an Australian paper said that his first competitive rounds since the sex scandals would come at the Accenture Match Play Championships—a rumor Steve Williams quickly debunked. Now, “inside sources” are saying that Woody will come back at the Tavistock Cup, a made-for-television event featuring the pampered residents of two “rival” Florida clubs: Lake Nona Golf and Country Club and Isleworth Golf and Country Club. Both are owned by the Tavistock investment group. The Cup is supposed to be his lone warmup to The Masters.

It makes sense, I suppose. The Tavistock Cup is a limited attendance event, and security surely will be able to keep most of the tabloid media away. The Tavistock Cup is hardly a Masters warmup, but it’s something.

More interesting, I think, is what these widespread rumors (and their seeming general acceptance) say about Tiger’s credibility. Implicit in any discussion of a Masters return is the belief that his show of contrition and penance is but a charade: Tiger’s done the obligatory celebrity stint in rehab, signaling that his problems were not of a moral nature, but medical. He’s missed a couple of tournaments, signaling that he really, really cares about his family. And having done that, he’s free to go back to the usual.

The betting odds on Tiger’s return certainly seem to favor a Master’s return. British bookies are offering 1-4 odds on his return. That means that a bet of $4 would pay $5, a sign that few are willing to bet against Tiger’s 2010 Masters return.

If anyone seriously believed otherwise, the discussion would all be about a year without Tiger and the odds would be much longer. Instead, in these quick return rumors, I detect a bit of a smirk and a knowing wink.

I really hope that Tiger’s return is not imminent, and that he is serious about repairing relations with his family. Given his serial philandering, I can’t imagine that things can be made right by a visit to a clinic and a couple of missed tournaments. Even if relations are better with Elin, however, he could at the very least signal to his fans and his sponsors that he’s turned over a new leaf by passing on this year’s Masters—and perhaps even the US Open. Missing the things that seemingly are most important to him would show (to me, at least) that he’s discovered the importance of family.

At the very least, an extended leave of absence (and missing a couple of the regular tournaments doesn’t count), would be the right PR move.

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1 thought on “Tiger Returns Predictions”

  1. I’m sorry for Elin and the kids, but I hope there is not a reconciliation and that Elin takes him for a few hundred million.  I doubt that she will ever really be able to trust Woods – and if she can’t she should not stay with him.  To do otherwise shows those kids possibly a worse example than their father already has, that a spouse will settle for dishonesty and infidelity and disrespect themselves in the process. 

    As for Woods, my golf group is split on this, a couple guys think he is done, done, done.  Some others think he will channel this into a toughness and be more dominiant than ever.  I would put stronger odd on the latter, but not as much as on that he is not done, but he will be a significantly weaker force in golf than he has been.  Jack’s record may be safe.

    Tiger has always had those that resented him, both players and fans.  Until now, you didn’t mess with him, and the tour pretty much backed Tiger 110%.  Tiger has difficulty handling his emotions, and now that there is going to be some percentage of the crowd that will want to get into his head.  Before it was a camera shutter here or there – now you will have some percentage, even at Augusta, it may be very small, but someone will be making comments, jokes, etc, and when Tiger hears them, he will probably not funnel that rage in a creative way.  It only takes a couple fans of Jack or other current pros to make Tiger’s tempers flare.  It is going to be interesting.

    Even before, he flung clubs and cursed.  Think that that flung club will be overlooked in the way it was before?  For all the shots Tiger has taken at Phil, Phil is gladly going to get to dish some out here, and he will probably be making sure that Finchem applies appropriate penalties for Tigers actions moving forward.

    I am not sure that Tiger should go to some limited engagement, because he needs to figure out how to deal with the heat of a crowd before Augusta or whatever major he goes to first.


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