When will Tiger Woods return to the PGA Tour? If only he'd give us a sign, like the first robin of spring or something.
Wait! Hank Gola of the New York Daily News found something at the CA Championship at Doral. Shaggy, Scooby–quick, over here! A clue:
The CA Championship found a way to bring Tiger Woods to Doral. Banners sporting the defending champ's [sic] visage hung from streetlights on the entry way to the Doral Golf Resort, greeting spectators Tuesday as they filed in for a sleepy practice round.
Fans will have to do without the real thing this week, although it
appears to be the last big event that Woods will miss before he ends
The presence of agent Mark Steinberg here Tuesday was another indication that Woods' return could be
imminent. Steinberg, who has no other clients but the world's No. 1
golfer, had not been to a PGA Tour event all year.
The sighting of the first robin–Steinberg–coupled with the news that coach Hank Haney has been working with Woods on the Isleworth range this week adds up to Woods playing the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in two weeks and then the Masters, according to Gola-math. Could be.
A more interesting nugget of information was buried near the end of Gola's speculative column. He talked to some fans to ask what they think the reaction will be when Woods does come back and got some interesting answers.
"It's going to be mixed," said Cliff Mosson, a Woods fan from Cape May, N.J.,
who was here with his wife, Bonnie. "Some people are going to enjoy
that he's still the best golfer to ever play the game and others are
going to be put off by what he did in his personal life. But we were
fans of his as a golfer. We don't know him as a person."
Bonnie Mosson said: "I think he's going to get
heckled a lot. There are a lot of people who weren't Tiger fans in the
first place and I think they are going to make themselves heard on the
Some have already made themselves heard, said Franklin Moss of North Miami.
"I've even gotten some remarks here just wearing his hat," said
Moss, who was sporting a white cap with a TW logo. "But I've always
admired him as a professional golfer and the things he has been doing
in his community… When I look
at it, morally he was wrong but he's still Tiger Woods and he's good at
what he does."
It might be telling, indeed, that a fan wearing a Tiger-logo cap catches flak from other fans. When Woods does return, whenever that is, he's probably going to have the biggest security detail we've ever seen in golf.
It's the cliched golf story of the year, by the way, that such-and-such tourney (just fill in the blank) goes on bravely without Tiger in the field. At Doral, expectations are somewhat low, especially given that the event doesn't have a title sponsor nailed down yet for next year. CA might not be back, a concern addressed by David Neal in The Miami Herald:
Nobody is expecting record crowds at Doral. As for the tournament's
future, Ty Votaw, the PGA Tour's executive vice president for
communications and international affairs, wouldn't say definitively
there would be a PGA Tour event at Doral without CA as title sponsor
next year. Tournament executive director Eddie Carbone said last month
there definitely would be a tournament, title sponsor or not. Before
CA, there were (going backward chronologically) Ford, Genuity, Ryder
Truck Rental and Eastern Airlines.
“If you look at our track
record, we have a good record of extending agreements or finding
replacement sponsors,'' Votaw said. “If you look at 2009, at the
height of the recession, we were able to do 16 major pieces of business