Tiger speculation won't end right away

IAN HUTCHINSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:51 AM ET

There's another kick at the can left for those righteous souls who believe Tiger Woods needs to be knocked down a few more pegs before returning to the profession that put him in the position to take such a giant tumble from the sex scandal that had society salivating these past four months.

At times, the voyeurs had apparently rolled over and gone to sleep, but they were reawakened by last month's bizarre press conference, or whatever that was at TPC Sawgrass. No matter how you define his televised chat with pals, it didn't satisfy the desire in many to hear from Woods again.

So, when he began working with coach Hank Haney in the Orlando area, it was game on again last week when speculation ran wild about where Woods would return to the PGA Tour.

It might be the Masters or Bay Hill. It could be the exhibition Tavistock Cup which, if true, hardly counts as a return if you're talking golf. Nevertheless, the people who want to know more about another form of swinging that Woods has become known for have one more mission before he goes back to work.

"The first event wherever he plays is going to be a zoo. Up to this point, he hasn't had that mea culpa to the world, which a lot of people think he should do," said former Canadian PGA Tour player Richard Zokol.

"If he's looking to re-emerge, I think he should do that and probably not do it at a golf tournament because it will turn the golf event upside-down, whether it's the Tavistock Cup or Bay Hill," Zokol said.

Sitting in the bushes ready to pounce are columnists wanting to dispense alleged expertise and the tabloid media hoping to extract a juicy morsel, while bumping into those who regularly cover golf tournaments.

"It does invite all kinds of speculation," Zokol said. "Obviously, people in the media are being asked to project what he's going to do and that's just a difficult thing."

Indeed it is and this week will be no different than last in terms of speculation, but no confirmation from Woods who will likely wait until the last minute to confirm his presence at whatever tournament earns the distinction of re-launching the world's No. 1 player.

If it's next week's Arnold Palmer Invitational, an event Woods has won six times, it's a good bet he will wait until Friday afternoon to confirm, which isn't out of the ordinary, but even more important now with the expected avalanche of requests for media credentials.

After trying to manipulate the media last month prior to his Sawgrass speech, it's unlikely that Team Tiger is going to offer the media any kind of heads-up on where he will make his return. They'll force a scramble by withholding that information until the last minute.

"Probably, that would be a logical strategy. It's very obvious that Tiger and his camp spend a lot of time thinking of strategy, even though perhaps they haven't done it very well, but you can tell they're focussed on it," Zokol said.

It's that strategy and the media manipulation that has gone on already that goes along with the report that Woods is consulting with former White House advisor Ari Fleischer on matters of public relations.

One thing is certain. If and when Woods does agree to a mea culpa, many media and fans will still be left unsatisfied due to the sheer logistics of putting that together and then, what do they expect him to say?

The only other thing that's certain about his return to golf is that uncertainty will be the case at least for at least the next few days.


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