March 11, 2010
The AP is reporting that two sources with knowledge of the Tiger Woods situation are saying he will return to competitive action at the Masters, and not before.
Speculation had swirled that Woods would either return at Arnold Palmer's tournament at Bay Hill over the weekend of March 28, or at the neighborhood competition that is the Tavistock Cup. But the AP's Doug Ferguson notes that two separate sources have indicated that Woods' return will come in Augusta in early April.
It makes perfect sense, from a logistical standpoint if not a competitive one. The Masters strictly regulates who can get press credentials, and Woods will be completely isolated from the media if he so desires. He'll also be playing in front of the calmest, most respectful fans in golf. The "patrons," as Augusta National calls them, risk losing their tickets for eternity if they act up.
The question then becomes, how ready is Tiger to play Augusta? He's been working with swing coach Hank Haney for several weeks. But he's comfortable at Augusta -- he has four wins there, and has placed in the top 10 on 10 of 13 occasions.
No other player could even hope to have success making his debut at Augusta after a layoff like this, but then, no other player is Tiger Woods.
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