Tiger Woods lays up

14-time major championship winner Tiger Woods

14-time major championship winner Tiger Woods

So Tiger Woods has decided to lay up. Can’t remember actually seeing him do that before in a major tournament. But that’s what he’s doing by announcing that his return to golf will occur at The Masters Tournament in early April.

After that sham-of-a-friend conference (it was not a “press” conference) he staged, or rather was staged for him, during the Olympic Winter Games, I figured even he would see that he’d eventually have to take his lumps and face a scrutinizing public and media. Apparently, the Crowned Prince of Golf does not.

By being chauffeured up Magnolia Lane in April, far away from anyone who might inquire about his past four months, he has opted for the easy way out. A lay up. There will be no tough questions at Augusta. The week may begin with Tiger on the podium, but there will be nothing but softballs from a media hoard who won’t want to do or say anything that might make them face the music with the Masters Committee. Don’t believe me? Ask Gary McCord. In April, there will not only be elephants under the green – but a giant one in the room.

The only folks happier than Woods about his decision to return at The Masters are the broadcasters at CBS. The Masters traditionally marks their return to golf coverage following March Madness. Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo must be positively giddy. If Tiger makes the cut, and remains in contention through Sunday, the viewing numbers will be astronomical.

And, at Augusta, Woods will be faced by only the most civilized of patrons (don’t call them the gallery). No one would ever want their “willed-to-me” badges revoked by saying anything that could be construed as questionable.

The manly thing for Woods to do would have been to begin play before The Masters, walk into the media room on a Monday and say, “OK, boys, what have you got for me?” Then answer questions like a man.

Instead, PGA TOUR fans will be served a giant dollop of drivel. Maybe even, if we’re unlucky, seconds.

Nobody loves watching Tiger Woods play golf more than I do. Fifty years from now, all golf fans will talk about how lucky they were to have seen him play at the prime of his golf career. Today, the prime of his life has become a joke.

Tiger is laying up all right…on a par four, for God sakes.

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