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PGA Tour Confidential: Bob Hope Classic

Tiger Woods, WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
Robert Beck/SI
It's still unclear when Tiger Woods will return.

Every week of the 2010 PGA Tour season, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group will conduct an e-mail roundtable. Check in on Mondays for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Welcome back, all. Photographers may have finally shot Tiger Woods last week, bundled up in a hoodie at the rehab clinic in Mississippi. How bad did those photos hurt Tiger's failing image? We still aren't near the end of this saga, are we?

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: They actually stirred a little sympathy in me. Tiger has always been so regal in the way he's carried himself. The person in those photos seemed meek and defeated.

[Have a question for Alan? Leave it here and he may answer you in this week's mailbag.]

Rick Lipsey, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: If Tiger and his team had dreamed up a worst-possible scenario for most every step of this mess, it wouldn't have been as bad as what's unfolded. If Tiger had issued a one-sentence "I'm going into rehab" statement, the rehab would've ended up as a non-event. Instead, the hoodie images get beamed around the world. As Farrell said way back, it's not the transgression that kills you, it's the cover up.

Shipnuck: Rick is correct is that this obsession with secrecy keeps hurting Tiger. He's always been a control freak and this story became uncontrollable a long time ago.

Van Sickle: Heads should roll at IMG, which continues to show that it has little interest in or understanding of the world's media. In their defense, the best spin doctor in the world couldn't diffuse this mess. It would be like trying to hold back Lake Michigan with a spork.

Lipsey: I disagree. A terrific adviser could have steered the TW ship differently and this whole thing would've been over, or on the relative backburner.

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I think Tiger's "strategy" of saying nothing will prove to be brilliant for him. He's rejecting all convention. In his silence he is saying what we've long suspected: I'm not doing any of this for you. Now it's confirmed. His attitude has always been take no prisoners. When he comes back, I'm guessing we'll see even more of that.

Van Sickle: Bambi is right on. I don't expect Tiger — or Phil, for that matter — to talk at length about Tiger's issues. When he finally returns, Tiger will say he had a problem, he got treatment for it and, hey, I'll answer a few golf questions now before I leave. That'll be it. No Oprah tell-all, ever.

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: There's a theory that people become more likable when they're flawed. I'm not sure if that's going to hold true for Tiger. Not the way things are going, anyway. We'll see what happens after he gets out of this program that he's allegedly in, and addresses the public again in a meaningful way. (No more robo-"statements" from his Web site.) He's gotta come clean, like Kobe, with some human emotion that we know he isn't faking. There is absolutely no other way.

Farrell Evans, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: Earl taught Tiger that the way to beat your naysayers was to kick ass on the golf course. He has never been chummy — he doesn't even go in the locker room — so why should he start now? As I've said before, Tiger doesn't owe us any explanation for his actions.

Morfit: He's gotten chummier in the last few years. I was surprised to see him hanging out with Stricker and the boys in the locker room at the Deutsche Bank, watching football before his round. It was almost like he knew he'd marooned himself on an island, and he was trying to figure out if he could get back to civilization.

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: He would win a lot of fans back by spilling his guts. The longer he's quiet, the worse he looks. That makes me believe that he's calling all the shots on this one. Surely, someone he trusts has told him how bad he's looking in all of this.

Bamberger: I am so much more interested in watching Phil play Torrey than I am in whatever Tiger may or may not be doing in Hattiesburg. The new season begins this week.

Shipnuck: Amen, Bamby!

Gorant: I'm with Michael. More than anything I'm over attempting to play crisis-management expert.

Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: Yes, couldn't agree more. Golf Channel says Phil has been tinkering and has a 6-degree driver in his bag. The guy is always looking for an edge.

Evans: If Tiger is in Mississippi, I hope he gets the help he needs. But I think we have to move on with the season. Phil has a chance now to be the main attraction.

Shipnuck: It will be fascinating to see how Phil, who's both media savvy and occasionally prone to controversy, handles all the Tiger questions this week.

Gorant: He won't say anything, but Amy and the kids will run onto the 18th green after every round.

Herre: I bet Phil will be circumspect when asked about TW. No upside to expounding on the subject.

Shipnuck: He knows that, but everyone else has weighed in, and now it's Phil's turn.

Bamberger: Phil will show his humanity, I would guess, when discussing Tiger. It's the main reason people love him. And don't love Tiger.

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