Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Go for it, Tiger

The Super Bowl on steroids.

That is how one analyst described what the TV audience and hype will be like for this year’s Masters Tournament.

For those non-golfers out there, the Masters is the first “major” of the year. And it is the only one that is played on the same course every year. That would be the hallowed ground of the Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.

It happens to be my favorite tournament of the year. It is on my “Bucket List,” just once before I kick it I’d like to see the place in person.

But this year it will have an added element surrounding the hallowed grounds.

Tiger is back.

The greatest golfer on the planet made it official yesterday. He will return from his exile after his life imploded in a series of tawdry sex scandal allegations in April at the Masters.

I could not be happier.

Look, I’m a golf nut. And I happen to like Tiger.

I’m not his father. Nor his mother. Nor his wife. I don’t particularly care what he does off the course.

It’s what he does on the course that I find so mesmerizing. He plays a game with which I am not familiar. Very simply, when Tiger is involved, the PGA Tour is elevated above its usual spot as a “niche sport.” When Tiger is involved, golf becomes an event. When he’s on the leaderboard Sunday afternoon, you can’t take your eyes off the TV.

The Masters is usually one of the top tournaments of the year when it comes to ratings. This year, with the return of Tiger, they will be off the charts.

When he strides to the tee, it will truly be “must-see TV.”

I have no idea how he will play. I kind of wish he had decided to play a tune-up, such as Arnold Palmer’s tournament at Bay Hill.

But if anyone can pull this off, it is Tiger Woods. He has proved again and again that he is not of this world – on the course – even if he is all too much of this world off of it.

I would not be surprised to see him in contention on Sunday afternoon.

And I would be lying if I didn’t admit I’ll be rooting for him.


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