Woods remains hot topic

2010-04-07 07:52
Tiger Woods (AP)
Georgia - Tiger Woods had pleaded with the media to stop bombarding fellow golfers with questions about his scandalous philandering on his return from exile and allow them to prepare for this week's Masters in peace.

No such luck.

The aftershocks of Woods's return to competition continued to rumble across sun-bathed Augusta National on Tuesday as the media chased reaction to the world number one's soul-baring 35-minute press conference a day earlier.

Despite Woods's pleas for restraint, the disgraced golfer continues to be the red-hot topic in the build-up to the year's first major and is likely to remain so until the coveted Green Jacket is awarded on Sunday in the Georgia twilight.

From defending champion Angel Cabrera to six-time Masters winner Jack Nicklaus, a parade of players and golfing greats were marched into the Augusta interview room on Tuesday where Woods was once again the subject du jour.

Even Raymond Floyd, who used the occasion to announce his retirement, could not exit without first answering questions about Woods.

"All of us in the game, and even those of us that weren't, are aware of the media attention that Tiger was getting. For our game, it was a blow," said Floyd, a four-time major winner and 1976 Masters champion. "I saw his interview on Monday, I think he was comfortable with how things went."

"But I think personally for me, I'm more concerned about him, his personal life."

Two golfers who can expect to answer more questions about Woods's play than their own are American Matt Kuchar and South Korean KJ Choi who have been grouped with the 14-times major winner for the first two rounds.

The galleries are expected to be massive and the spotlight searing when the 34-year-old American tees up for the first time since the startling revelations of his extra-marital affairs.

"It's never easy being paired with Tiger," said three-time major winner Irishman Padraig Harrington.

"There's more focus and more stress and there will be questions on Thursday, how do you feel about playing with Tiger and questions on Friday about how did you feel about playing with Tiger."

The questions came from all directions and covered a wide range from where Woods might have dinner to the esoteric "What are the dangers of introspection to an elite level athlete?"

Cabrera was asked if Woods would attend the exclusive champions dinner he will host on Tuesday evening -- "You've got to ask him," the reply.

British Open winner Stewart Cink was asked whether he would rather play with Tiger or Tom Watson. "Either way I answer that, you're going to turn that around and it's going to be bad," he said.

Fans had their own questions but many of them were answered a day earlier when a contrite Woods took full responsibility for his philandering.

Cynics described Woods's interview as a performance worthy of an Oscar while others took him at his word, believing him to be sincere about repairing his marriage and tarnished image.

The results of one national media study among 1,200 Americans revealed that nearly a third of press conference viewers were left with a more positive perception and that 63 percent felt the apologies he had given were sufficient.

"I didn't think it was all that sincere but he said the right words," Louise Cleary of Edmond, Oklahoma, told Reuters as she watched Woods during his practice round.

Read more on:    angel cabrera  |  tiger woods  |  jack nicklaus

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