Tiger Woods prepares to face the media ahead of comeback
Brace yourselves, the next week is going to be all about one man.
Tiger Wood’s Masters comeback begins at 1900 BST today with his first bona fide press conference since the sex scandal unravelled in November last year.
But while today’s attention will be focused on rhetoric, we will have a far more visible marker of where Tiger is come Thursday’s first round.
There has been much said about his decision to re-launch his career at Augusta.
Woods’ record at the famous old course is exemplary, winning here on four occasions including his astonishing 12 stroke, debut title in 1997.
Augusta reacted by adding length to the course to negate Tiger’s driving prowess but it has remained his favourite venue.
But as much as his decision to return for the years first Major tournament might make nostalgic sense, the choice has been made for numerous reasons.
Spectators at Augusta are kept at a respectable distance from the players, giving Tiger the breathing space he desires.
There will be some spiky responses when he steps up to the tee this Thursday but for every cheap heckle and cat call, there will be ten times as many golf fans delighted to see that fluid swing once again.
A golf course is not a football ground and though he will get some stick, the Augusta authorities will be in all likelihood quick to pounce on misbehaviour.
Fellow pros were surprised to see Tiger at the Augusta practice course yesterday but equally quick to praise his form.
Indian Irjun Atwal reckoned Tiger was “hitting it longer than before,” whilst John Cook marvelled at his “vintage” striking.
“I don’t see anyone beating him,” said the American.
Bookmakers have Tiger as 9/2 favourite for the title and few would bet against a fairy tale end to what at times has resembled a sordid crime novel.
Does lack of preparation count against someone with so much ability and a track record to prove it?
Probably, but Tiger’s golfing genius is so all-consuming that if he is anywhere near his best, he becomes nigh on impossible to beat.
After the difficulties of the past few months, Tiger might find the relative peace of a big tournament golf course the perfect place to be.
And for his rivals, that is a scary thought.