Blog Entry

On Easter, Woods emerges to start comeback

Posted on: April 4, 2010 5:25 pm
Edited on: April 4, 2010 5:30 pm
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AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Tiger Woods hopped out of an electric shuttle cart, sauntered onto the practice range at Augusta National and took a look around.

Make that a long look.

Sure, the professional practice area at the course is brand new and quite a sight to behold, but those who witnessed his arrival on Sunday said he looked slightly perplexed as he stood, alone, for a couple of minutes, drinking in the place.

The Masters driving range aside, that's not all that has changed in golf or his life as he gears up for Thursday's opening round at the season's first major championship. It's probably not the only thing this week that will stop him in his tracks, either.

Woods, who was wearing sunglasses and had longtime caddie Steve Williams in tow, warmed up alongside several other professional players, his trademark TW logo on his golf bag where the corporate insignias used to be. Key phrase: Used to be. His entire landscape has changed, not just the location of a few trees or tee boxes here and there.

"Hey, listen, in life, no one’s perfect," said his old pal, Mark O'Meara, who played nine holes with the world No. 1 Sunday. "We thought he was, but no one’s absolutely perfect."

Woods was not particularly close, as international tabloid sales indicate. Which brings us to his predicament this week, and what Sunday possibly portends.

Even though The National, as the locals call it, is closed to spectators and media on Sundays before the tournament, a Golf Channel producer said he counted more than 40 security guards ringing the rim of the practice area as the players warmed up, a possible precursor of the phalanx that will surround Woods when play begins Thursday. Inside the media center, some of the Augusta National brass were holding a meeting inside the room where, on Monday at 2 p.m., Woods will meet the global press for the first time since before his Thanksgiving collision with a tree.

Sunday's practice round marked his first appearance in a semi-public area since before the crash that sent him into the worst public-relations tailspin in sports history. After warming up, Woods ventured to the practice putting green near the clubhouse, then hooked up with former neighbor and mentor O'Meara, whom he had not seen since last July.

"He’s swinging well," O'Meara said after they finished. "It’s good to see Hank [Haney] again because we’re dear friends, too. Yeah, I enjoyed my time out there with him. He was relaxed, swinging well and ready to get back at it."

They gave each other a long hug when they met and whatever words were exchanged happened well out of earshot. Woods then jumped under the ropes and joined O'Meara as the latter played his back nine. Woods and O'Meara, past Masters champions, once lived six homes apart on the suburban Orlando street where Woods' life changed after he crashed his car at 2:30 a.m. The course is closed to media and spectators on Sunday, so the old friends had it all to themselves, a few members and tour players notwithstanding.

"Of all the people I’ve ever met he’s one of the toughest guys mentally I’ve ever met," O'Meara said. "He’ll do well this week. He’s been out of the game for awhile, but he left with a win [last November in Australia]. Certainly, he knows how to win. He’s won here, what, four or five times? I think he’s just ready to get back out competing with the rest of the guys."

O'Meara raised a good point about Woods' state of readiness. Woods is used to living in a fish bowl, a term he once texted to one of his mistresses. Well, allegedly.

"Forget about what’s happened over the past four or five months," O'Meara said. "Certainly what’s happened over the past 10-12 years, he’s been the most scrutinized player who’s ever played the game. He’s created the most notoriety, he’s one of the most famous people in the world, forget about being a golfer and an athlete.

"With that comes a lot of responsibility and he probably feels like he’s dropped the ball there. But you know what? He’s manning up to it, he’s trying to get better and as a friend I can only be there to support him and that’s what I’m trying to do."

How his peers will react this week will be interesting. He said hello to Jim Furyk on the practice putting green, but generally kept a low profile. Players on the range didn’t exactly line up to shake his hand.

Woods did show some signs of returning to normalcy, like when he spotted two veteran reporters flitting on the periphery of the new range. He tossed a light-hearted insult at them and then headed off to play.

How many laughs are contained in the rest of the week, or to some degree, his career, is anybody's guess.

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Comments

Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: April 5, 2010 10:19 am
 

On Easter, Woods emerges to start comeback

Add Arnold Palmer to that list of notorious womanizers too!  Where did his free pass come from Stevie? Along with probably half the average field of pro golfers of the past generations. Difference then was that people didn't care much about someones personal life, and sports writers without class were unemployed!  My my how times have changed. 

Two really really nasty things about Elling that I absolutely hate! One is, he looks like the twin brother of my brother in law.  And 2, he's even less talented and more of a jackass than my brother in law!



Since: Jan 18, 2008
Posted on: April 5, 2010 9:00 am
 

On Easter, Woods emerges to start comeback

Sooner just wonder how you feel about several legends in the past? Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Ty Cobb, Rocky Marciano, Muhammed Ali to name a few of many. These are all men who were notorious WOMANIZERS and yet they remain heroes to many people. And you are kidding yourself if you don't think there are plenty more golfers on the current tour and in years past that haven't had extra marital affairs. I don't have to seperate the two issues about Tigers issues and his accomplishments. Because they are seperate, Tigers off field issues have no bearing on what he has accomplished on the golf course. Now if something would come back about this whole steroid thing, I would have a problem. Only because it would have direct bearing on the outcome of golf tourneys.



Since: Oct 15, 2009
Posted on: April 5, 2010 8:25 am
 

On Easter, Woods emerges to start comeback

Elling has not willingly joined the ranks of tabloid journalism with speculation and innuendo. If you have read him at length, pre-Tiger sex addiction, you would probably categorize him as well-suited bland golf scribe who occasionally hit you with some valuable insight. Tiger's situation is still to this day working itself within the fabric of our psyches. The controversy that surrounds Tiger not only includes the comeback of a disgraced international athlete, but also includes the perception of a now publicly tainted deviant who also happens to be the best golfer on the planet and/or the history of his sport. You can say easily enough that Tiger deserves a second chance etc. - but that is too naive given the circumstances. The golf sportswriter community, to the overall public, will never be able to separate Tiger from his misdeeds. This isn't reality based on the unnecessary condemnation of celatious-minded individuals wishing to emphasize a common mistake associated with an uncommon international figure. The result of the stigma, now and forever, attached to Tiger is due to the extraordinary circumstances that have become public knowledge. Tiger is inseparable from his past behavior for all time in my opinion. It isn't because a sportswriter or the public are incapable of forgiveness. It is because of the extreme nature of his behavior and how inconceivable it is as a concept. When Tiger overtakes Jack Nicklaus as the all-time leader of every relevant statistical category, it won't be an occasion whereby we reflect upon an individual who is of great character that has achieved unbelievable heights of greatness, who also by the way committed a single notable mistake in his life. When the moment arrives that Tiger passes Jack for Major victories I believe that I will view a man who remains extremely flawed, but also happens to hold the title to greatest golfer ever. If you can separate the two that is your choice and I see no harm by doing so, but to project that standard for the public as a whole is too lofty a goal, given the realities that Tiger has provided with his revelations of an out of the ordinary previous private life now gone public.



Since: Oct 27, 2006
Posted on: April 5, 2010 8:17 am
 

On Easter, Woods emerges to start comeback

I guess all you Tiger haters are so very perfect and do nothing wrong in your life.....I highly doubt it...no one is perfect.....no one....

He deserves a second chance as much as the next person next person.....

What he did was wrong, he knows it.....Lets move on.......



Since: Aug 8, 2008
Posted on: April 4, 2010 11:54 pm
 

On Easter, Woods emerges to start comeback

... and if you've ever made a mistake, I hope you fail at your job and gets fired.  Maybe never get another job again.  Never knew you, liked you, and I hate you too... IDIOT.  How does that feel?  Leave the guy alone.



Since: Aug 30, 2007
Posted on: April 4, 2010 10:43 pm
 

Elling Haters

Please direct all Elling hatemail to this address. 633 North Orange Avenue
,  32801-1349. Call this number for his office. (407) 420-5000  Thanks,

John Daly



Since: Feb 15, 2008
Posted on: April 4, 2010 10:19 pm
 

On Easter, Woods emerges to start comeback

Finally, the golf season is starting! Honestly, one more bucket of cold porridge like today (made barely palatable by a playoff, though that was also thin gruel), and I was going to ignore golf for the rest of the summer. Whether you like him or hate him, there's electricity when he's playing a tournament more often than not. Watching Kim whiff that last putt on 18 today, I was thinking "yeah, and that's why you'll always be 'Little Tiger'". Next week will be crazy, but once TW's back to normal, golf will be worth watching again.



Since: Jan 11, 2010
Posted on: April 4, 2010 9:54 pm
 

On Easter, Woods emerges to start comeback

Hater, guess your wife and/or daughter didn't get paid!!!!!!!



Since: Aug 14, 2007
Posted on: April 4, 2010 9:48 pm
 

On Easter, Woods emerges to start comeback

How someone handles a situation is unigue to that person. The writer should understand that. One thing that has been a constant, his competitive nature will not have changed. His desire to hit very shot as perfect as he can will not have changed. We have seen him in a zone before and will again. His golf game may be a haven for him and his love of the sport, especially at a major may be the tonic he needs. Even if he does not do as well as he himself would like, I would bet he will keep his competitors wondering and that could be to his adavantage. not theirs. The handling of the comments from the broadcasters, should be very interesting to see if they can keep their mind on the game and not rehash all the past media comments. Noting his rustiness after a layoff is ok but how he is handling the players and fans is not what i need  to hear. If they pay attention to the players and the game and leave out the crap, i will not have to use the mute so i can watch golf not a soap opera.



Since: Mar 16, 2009
Posted on: April 4, 2010 9:19 pm
 

On Easter, Woods emerges to start comeback

I would have hoped tat on Easter, at least, we could go a day without some irrelevant article from Elling.  Does this guy not have anything better to do and doesn't CBS have any idea how he is viewed by the people that keep their website in business?

Wait until Thursday and then REPORT, unbiasedly, on what takes place.  I wish someone would follow around Elling and bash every choice he makes and then write novels about how he went grocery shopping or stopped for a meal.  Who cares?

By the way, this is not a comeback.  He was not injured, banned or anything that would result in this week being a comeack.  He took four months off.  Mabe if Elling did not ride a bike or write an idiotic article in four months, he would forget how.  Then he could make a comeback.  But Tiger still knows how to play golf and love him or hate him, he will be in the mix on Sunday.


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