Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

Is Woods now bigger than golf itself?


USA/OBAMA/Tiger Woods’s hotly anticipated return to the PGA Tour after eight months on the sidelines because of a knee injury has sparked widespread debate with most, but not all, golf fans celebrating his comeback.With the American world number one back in action this week for the first time since his astonishing U.S. Open victory last year, television ratings are bound to soar and spectator numbers will be driven upwards.

Woods, the greatest player of his generation and arguably of all time, is a must-see show when he arrives in town — in much the same way as Michael Jordan was when in his NBA pomp.

A winner of 14 major titles, Woods has the ability to produce the remarkable almost on demand. Monster putts holed or extraordinary recovery shots achieved from awkward positions are usually greeted by his trademark fist pump — raw and almost tangible golfing theatre.

For many people, Tiger Woods IS golf and he has almost single-handedly ushered in an era of multi-million dollar endorsements and lucrative appearance money since turning professional in 1996.

At last, timing looks right for Tiger


tigerThe timing of Tiger Woods’s return to the PGA Tour following knee surgery has posed the biggest question mark in golf this year and maybe, just maybe, the answer will be delivered on Friday.

By 1700 ET (2200 GMT) on Friday, players have to commit to next week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona where Woods is the defending champion.