Mar 2, 2010, 12:00 PM EDT
In news that was no doubt leaked from Tiger’s camp itself, the Associated Press is reporting today that Woods has completed a week of in-house addiction therapy in Arizona and is back in Orlando, hitting the course in preparation for his return to competitive golf. Still no word on when that might be, but it’s looking imminent. But we all knew that this was coming eventually; the bigger news seems to be that Woods is leaking info to the press in an attempt to neuter the tabloids. Control the message: the first rule of engagement in the PR wars.
Woods returned to his home near Orlando on Saturday and has been hitting balls on the range at Isleworth, not far from where he ran his SUV into a tree in a middle-of-the-night accident on Nov. 27 that set off revelations of his extramarital affairs.
The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because only Woods is authorized to release information about his schedule, said there is still no timetable for golf’s No. 1 player to return to competition.
Although the AP story has no byline, SportsbyBrooks says that it was written by Doug Ferguson, a longtime Woods friend and ally. The main evidence: Feguson was all over Twitter with the news.
Woods is not likely to play next week in the World Golf Championship at Doral, where he has won three times.
His next possibility on the PGA Tour is the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, where he is the defending champion and a six-time winner. The Masters, which Woods has played every year since 1995, would follow. Augusta National officials have not indicated whether they expect Woods to compete.
Meanwhile, Radar Online reported on Monday that Woods did not fly to Orlando on Saturday as AP reported, but is still in Arizona. Make of that what you will.
Anyway, it seems that we’re just a few weeks away from the real story here: How Tiger is going to handle his return to tournament play. Without his wife by his side, it seems; and with a cheering and sometimes jeering gallery following his every move. Get your signs ready people; if that’s the kind of thing you do.
AP Source: Woods back from family counseling [Associated Press]
Tiger Woods Did Not Fly Home With Wife [Radar Online]
Tiger back to combating tabs; comeback next? [SportsbyBrooks]
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