Rubber-necking at Augusta National


AUGUSTA, Ga. – The snap, crackle and pop you’ve come to expect in a Tiger Woods gallery is missing.

The energy you normally feel even in his practice rounds just isn’t there.

At least it isn't this morning at Augusta National.

That’s what stood out on the front nine with Woods playing with Fred Couples. The gallery following Woods is polite and respectful but not overly enthusiastic in welcoming Woods back in his first practice round in front of the public since the scandal erupted around his marital infidelity.

Woods received a polite smattering of applause at the first tee and every tee and green on the front nine. To be sure, there were shouts of “Welcome back, Tiger!” as he made his way down fairways. There was even a woman shouting 'We love you!' at the first hole, but Couples is receiving noticeably more enthusiastic receptions at tees and greens than Woods is getting. Mostly, it feels like the gallery is rubber-necking, slowing in traffic to see what dents might be visible as Woods makes his way around the course.