WE’VE stated before that our interest in Tiger Woods is as a golfer; we’ll leave all the personal morality judgements and critiques of the authenticity or otherwise of his highly publicised public apology to others.
What we are interested in is when he plans to return to competitive golf.
Our two recent stories on that subject, firstly on talk that he might return for the WGC – Accenture Matchplay and secondly that we would know more after his public appearance on Saturday morning, proved to be hugely inaccurate.
So with the dust having settled on his televised apology and anyone and everyone having had their say on it, including most curiously the Dalai Lama, we’ll stick our neck out one more time.
But only so far as to postulate that although his speech was so obviously well planned and scripted (as it probably needed to be), he quite honestly doesn’t have a clue when he will be back.
Those that claim to know him well, or at least to know how he operates well, don’t think it will be this year.
This includes his (former) coach of ten years Butch Harmon and “confidant” Ian Baker-Finch.
“Mentally, obviously he’s hurting – and it’s going to be a long road back for him.” Harmon said this week.
“I don’t think any of us should expect to see him on a golf course any time soon because emotionally I don’t think he’ll be there. I personally do not think he will play this year.”
Baker-Finch, who first met Woods as a 15 year old, expressed a similar view: “I was hoping he’d be back for the Masters, but I read into (his statement) that his comeback’s not going to be any time soon.”
“My gut feeling is he doesn’t come back until he’s 100 per cent better, focused on golf and ready to win, and I don’t think it will be for the Majors. I can’t see any reason to come back (this year) if not for the Majors.”
What Woods actually said on the subject of his return is the following:
“I do plan to return to golf one day. I just don’t know when that day will be. I don’t rule out that it will be this year. When I do return, I need to make my behaviour more respectful of the game.”
Repeated there in black and white it couldn’t be more straightforward. Woods was going back into therapy the next day. How long the process takes? Who knows.
The last word should go to the Dalai Lama, who was asked about the Woods case on the tenuous basis that he is a fellow Buddhist.
To paraphrase the great Tibetan spiritual leader: “Who’s Tiger Woods?”
Whoever he is, golf will just have to do without him for the foreseeable future.