Nobody knows when Tiger will return, but every tournament between now and Augusta is getting ready, just in case they draw the golden ticket.
Amid reports that Woods has been spotted working with swing coach Hank Haney, tournament organizers are scrambling to prepare for a media onslaught unlike any they’ve ever seen before. And while we don’t know if Tiger will return at Bay Hill in a couple weeks, or at the Transitions or Houston Open — or, indeed, if he’ll return at all anytime soon — planners have to get ready for the possibility.
“Historically, he hasn’t played the week before the Masters,” Steve Timms, tournament director of the Houston Open, told Golfweek. “But these are unusual times. We’re prepared from a security and media standpoint. We’ve been watching the media closely, and we’ve had some weird [credential requests].” One can only guess what those requests might be.
It’s a dicey situation for the tournaments. On one hand, they don’t want to let in every sleazoid gossip rag and risk offending both Woods and the PGA Tour.
On the other, they’re in business to get exposure for themselves and their sponsors, and they’d have the world’s eyes on them if Woods returns.
So everybody’s making preparations, spending more money and time to allot extra space and security for media. (Augusta, which wouldn’t let the President in if it didn’t feel like it, is making no such alterations to its normal routine.)
Of course, Tiger could make things much easier on everybody by not pulling his usual routine of waiting until the last second to register for tournaments.
His management team has hinted that he’ll give more notice this time, which would sure be nice.