On Tiger Woods’ Selfish, Poorly Timed Return to Golf

03/16/2010 2:12 PM |

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It was announced this morning that, after a four-month layoff following his sex scandal, Tiger Woods would return to golf in time to play the Masters in Augusta, GA, on April 8th. It didn’t come as much of a surprise: no one really thought he’d miss a major, and especially not the Masters, which he’s won four times and always seemed to care about just a little more than all the others. For me, though, it was surprising—or at least disappointing—that he didn’t choose to come back a week or two earlier, for one of the warm-up tournaments. If he’d played the Shell Open, say, in Houston on April 1, a good portion of the ensuing media circus would have been behind him, and he’d have been free to focus (almost) solely on his game, as opposed to everything else. And more importantly, he’d have made it a little easier for the rest of the field to focus on their game, rather than having to feel the effects of all his bullshit at one of the most important tournaments of the year.

The flip-side to this, of course, is that Augusta National, where the Masters is held, is famously stingy when it comes to media access. (It’s the only tournament of the year where members of the press are not permitted inside the ropes to walk with the players.) So Tiger’s simply making this as easy as possible on himself, at least in terms of the amount of people he’ll have to answer to.

He claims the Masters was the earliest he could possibly make it back, which just simply isn’t true: This is a man who won the U.S. Open on one leg a couple years ago, just days before going in for a massive knee surgery to fix an injury he’d been ignoring for years. If he’d wanted to do the right thing here—for the other players, and for the game that’s made him rich enough to be able to enter rehab for really liking sex—he could have.