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Jay Busbee

As anniversary of Tiger vs. hydrant nears, Woods reaches out

Jay Busbee
Devil Ball Golf

Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.

Winter is coming. The leaves lining most of your favorite golf courses are changing, and the fairways will soon be covered with snow. So, no news in golf? Guess again.

Golf fans on Twitter got a bit of a surprise Wednesday morning when this missive showed up from a long-dormant but very familiar (and verified) Twitter account:

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Yep, that's the real Tiger, and he's really now on Twitter at @TigerWoods. He joins LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal and a host of other athletes on the real-time social network. And while he probably won't be following the lead of Shaq or Chad OchoCinco and using Twitter to meet fans, this is a good way for him to break down a bit of that robotic image he's got, and bypass the media in order to speak directly with the fans. Woods' followers jumped from about 90,000 to over 150,000 (and counting) in just a few hours, so obviously there's interest in what the man himself has to say.

[Photos: Tiger Woods on the course]

And all of a sudden, he's saying a lot. In addition to the Twitter account, there's also a new Newsweek article bearing Tiger's byline entitled "How I've Redefined Victory." (Hint: It's not just about the majors anymore.)

The article features a familiar mix of contrition ("my life was out of balance, and my priorities were out of order") and defiance ("opportunists are trying still to cash in on my troubles, no matter how irresponsible or ridiculous their claims may be"). Mixed in are some specific accounts that humanize Tiger -- watching cartoons with his son, making mac 'n' cheese with his daughter, eating lunch out among the common folk -- and further distance him from the Robotic TigerBot Of Excellence who rampaged across the golf world for so many years.

"I’m not the same man I was a year ago," Woods writes. "And that’s a good thing."

[Related: Tiger's new $50 million mansion]

Tiger 2.0 also paid a visit to ESPN's "Mike and Mike" radio program on Thursday morning. (Read more about that interview, along with the restrictions that Tiger placed on it, right here.) What are the odds of these three public-outreach events happening on the exact same day by coincidence? About the same odds that Woods himself would go through an entire season without a win. But here we are.

Wonder why all this new-Tiger business is happening now? Because the one-year anniversary of Woods' initial encounter with the fire hydrant is next Saturday, and Woods and his team are -- perhaps for the first time -- getting in front of the story and acting proactively and progressively. It's a wise move, and one that should help pave the way for Woods to continue to put Thanksgiving 2009 behind him once and for all.

Still, a tip for you, Tiger: follow more than just your own foundation, video game and primary sponsor on Twitter. Listening to nobody outside your inner circle is part of what got you into trouble in the first place.

For more golf and Tiger Woods news, follow Yahoo Sports' Devil Ball Golf on Twitter at @jaybusbee and on Facebook right here.

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