Recalling Eldrick ‘Tiger’ Woods

Rumours of Tiger Woods’ return to golf are rampant as the 2010 PGA Tour is now well underway. His usual opening tournament has come and gone, but the biggest event for the year is just a few weeks away, the Accenture World Matchplay Championship.

Accenture was one of Tiger’s big sponsors and they were one of the first to drop him in favour of an elephant on a surfboard. It would be somewhat ironic and unlikely, if he made his return for this tournament.
Like all massive sports stars or celebrities who slip up or “transgress”, open season is quickly declared on them. No one has been light on Woods and I’ve been amazed just how many non-golf followers have joined in.

It has surprised me just how famous he was outside of golf circles as a name as much as anything. Most people would struggle to tell you how many majors he won an very few know his real name.

Some ardent golf fans have fervently claimed Tiger is not taking a break from golf. Many are adamant this is NOT a break and he’s just going through a rough patch. He will be back playing as usual.
In truth, it doesn’t matter. When he comes back it is going to be massive and all focus (once he steps on the fairway) will be on his golf game and whether he can play as magically as he always did.
The three most interesting comments from fellow professional golfers during his “break from golf” have come from Jesper Parnevik, Geoff Ogilvy and Tom Watson.
Jesper Parnevik gave Woods a right royal flogging over his “transgressions” and given his proximity to Tiger and his wife (he introduced them), then it is probably fair enough.

Geoff Ogilvy has been as candid as anyone when asked about the situation. He suggested he should emerge and speak to the media well before he steps out on to the golf course. This way the rest of the golfers on the PGA Tour can be spared the chaos that will ensue at the tournament if he doesn’t. Nicely put and again hard to fault despite the fact that I think chaos will ensue anyway.

Tom Watson has suggested that when Tiger returns, he not only cleans up his private life but his on-course attitude. He admitted to sending Tiger Woods a private letter well before the affairs were made public, encouraging him to stop the tantrums and club throwing. Tiger is supposedly the most fined player on tour, so once more this advice is hard to fault too.
The Herald-Sun’s Mark Hayes hinted that Woods will be teeing it up again in two weeks at the Accenture Matchplay Championship. It is hard to believe this coming from anyone let alone an article in the Herald-Sun but I, like Padraig Harrington found the whole transgression story hard to believe from day one.
But when he does return, maybe Tiger’s given name is more appropriate. Eldrick. It is rather plain, less feisty than Tiger and more like a player on tour trying to prove himself once again.
Think of it like when Prince changed his name to the symbol. Once he shows the world just how good he is at his chosen profession, he can reclaim the “Tiger” moniker.
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