AUGUSTA, Ga. - Following Tiger Woods' press conference Monday, golf fans gathered at a Hooters restaurant had only one question: "Can we talk about golf now?"
Marc Spade, a golf fan from San Antonio, Tex. said he is disgusted at the amount of media attention being paid to Woods' comeback following numerous allegations of infidelity.
"I think it's total crap, to be honest, I couldn't care less about what he did in his personal life," said Spade. "I only care about golf. Can we talk about golf now?"
At the Hooters restaurant in Augusta, the chain's famously fashionable waitresses mingled with customers dressed in pastel-coloured polo shirts and beige shorts. At exactly 2 p.m., all eyes were glued to television screens as fingers plunged into baskets of chicken wings. Tiger Woods fans are ready for the hotly anticipated news conference.
A few tipsy patrons yell "Go Tiger", while a waitress carrying a tray full of beer glasses screams "shut your face" at one of the screens. If nothing else, it was a small sample of the circus that this year's installment of the Masters has become with the return of the world's number one golfer.
Inside the restaurant, even in the kitchen, 20 screens are showing Woods' face as he addresses the media. At a nearby table, a group of men from Ohio were completely indifferent to the controversy plaguing Woods.
"It's none of our business, everyone has done something wrong in life," said one of the men.
Brian Butler, a retired banker from Massachusetts, was satisfied with Wood's apology.
"But we're not the ones who deserve an apology," said Butler, who said he thought the typically reserved Woods appeared sincere. "This was Tiger. Despite what people are going to say, I really think he came out of his shell.
"He looked sincere."
Butler added that he was particularly interested in seeing Woods address questions related to doping allegations, while Dan Laskoski said he was surprised at how gentle the media was with the golfer.
"They were really respectful, I was expecting them to be more difficult," said the 61-year-old from Santa Rosa, Ca. who also said he found Tiger sincere.
"I've always been a Tiger fan and nothing he did could convince me not to be."
Laskoski said he was more bothered by the intense coverage being given to the story by the American media.
"It is absolutely out of control," he said. "There is not a person in the world that would have this kind of attention, not even Obama, it's crazy."
It has been estimated that Woods' presence at this year's Masters could attract a record 25 million viewers for CBS. So far this year however, the city has not experienced the circus that is expected to descend on the area.
Entertainment media like People and Extra are already set up, but there has not yet been any sign of the paparazzi. That will likely all change when the tournament starts on Thursday.
Ticket sellers, in the days leading up the kick off of the Masters, are making big bucks. As are homeowners along Washington Road, who are selling parking spots on their lawns for $14 each.
"I'm having the best day I've had in 20 years," said Jimmy Dee, a ticket vendor from Boston, from the side of Washington Road.
Dee also said he has seen an increase in the number of clients he has from Canada this year.
"Mostly from Ontario, but also from Quebec and western provinces," he said, adding that as of Thursday, the cost of a single ticket could climb as high as $4,000 US.
As for area escort agencies, the only business owner who agreed to be interviewed said that business at Angela's Escort has been much better than usual leading up to the Masters.