Archives: Tiger Woods eyes return to Masters, PGA Tour?

Originally published in February 2010
Simon Nguyen

By the time you read this article, Tiger Woods has probably announced his intent to return to competitive golf (presumably the PGA Tour). With the Masters just around the corner, Tiger’s decision is not much of a surprise. Some of Woods’ greatest achievements were at Augusta National; it is highly unlikely that a Tiger’s comeback would not include a trip to his favorite golf tournament. As to which PGA Tour event will mark Woods’ official return, speculations point to an appearance at the Tavistock Cup. But it is just pure speculation at the moment.

There was never any question as to whether Tiger Woods will ever return to competitive golf. It was really about when Woods will return and how he will perform amid the expected media onslaught.

Tiger Woods is a phenomenal athlete who frequently excels under the most pressured moments. But even with 14 major victories and countless accolades, it is highly unlikely that he has ever experienced a greater pressure than the one he will soon face. It is infinitely easier to brush aside a bad shot or endure a peer’s great play than to stand up to the court of public opinion. Even though America is a forgiving nation, Woods’ skeptics are plentiful. Tiger’s personal troubles have given ammunitions to his critics, who will make sure his return won’t be a success.

Even if media pressure is a non-factor, it is still highly unlikely that Woods will be able to rediscover his past form in a relatively short time. While Woods had a fine 2009 season, he did not win or even contend in any of the major tournaments. One should not expect a scenario where Tiger Woods would win the Masters or any major golf event immediately upon his return. I believe Tiger should still win at least 1-2 more major titles, but definitely not this soon.

Who is the main beneficiary of Tiger Woods’ return to competitive golf? Tiger’s comeback is the best thing that could have happened to the PGA Tour. Since his hiatus, the Tour has suffered from low TV ratings and loss of sponsorships. One should expect that ratings for PGA Tour tournaments that feature Woods will increase exponentially. As a matter of fact, Tiger’s intrigue is expected to generate lots of buzz and publicity for the Tour. This year’s Masters has the potential to be the most watched golf tournament in history.

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