When will Tiger Woods return to golf


When will Tiger Woods make his much anticipated return to the professional arena? In this edition of Punch Shots, GolfChannel.com senior writers Rex Hoggard and Randall Mell weigh in with their opinions.


A headline on the ubiquitous ESPN scroll ranked right up there with the sun rising in the east and death. Report: Tiger Woods to not play WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Let’s forget for a moment that Woods has not been seen publically since before he got sideways with that Isleworth fire hydrant and that the only news regarding the world No. 1 has come via the dubious filter of the tabloid press. Woods won’t make his debut in the Arizona desert for the second consecutive year because he’s got a long memory and because he’s likely not ready.

Accenture was one of Woods’ endorsers that distanced themselves from the fallen icon following Black Friday. The company had every right to do so, but don’t expect Woods to offer the celebrity of his world premiere in return.

Woods will return when he’s ready, meaning when his life and his game are in order, not when the schedule is ripe.

The secondhand scraps of information filtering out from the Woods Camp suggest that the WGC-CA Championship at Doral and Arnold Palmer Invitational are the leaders in the Tiger Lottery. But that’s only if he’s ready, and only Woods knows that answer.

It all depends on the status of Woods’ marriage.

As far as we know, and we know so little as fact, Woods and his wife, Elin, are still together. They’re still trying to keep their family intact.

If that’s true, my answer’s simple: Woods should return wherever his wife, Elin, wants him to return. He should return when she’s comfortable their life together is best served by his re-entry into public life. If that means he misses all of this year and postpones a return to 2011, so be it. There will be no doubt about his re-commitment to family. There will be hope in a carefully rebuilt marriage for everyone who wants to see him succeed as a man as much as a player.

If the marriage is over, well, the sooner Woods returns the better for golf. If he wants to postpone tabloid journalism’s reach, his best bet is to return at the Tavistock Cup in Orlando behind the protective walls of a private development and then tee it up at the Masters. But I’d rather see him meet what awaits head on at the WGC-CA Championship in a month. Make a direct statement to the world in the international city of Miami.