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Sooner the better for Tiger

February 18, 2010
By B.J. LISKO, Salem News Sports Editor

If Tiger Woods wants to get back on track immediately, he'll announce this morning that not only is he returning to golf, but that he'll return to golf next week at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Talk about a way to manage your waste.

The Phoenix Open (formerly called the FBR Phoenix Open) is largely regarded as the wildest stop on the PGA Tour. Thousands of fans line the par-3 16th hole, arguably the most entertaining in golf, cheer wildly for good shots, boo like crazy for bad ones, and generally get about as wasted as possible. It's as close as golf gets to being a hockey match with the exception of the fact that the participants are hitting round objects with sticks.

This year also marks the first in a while that the tournament's final round doesn't coincide with the Super Bowl. Tiger could make it his own Super Bowl if he comes back, and I'd argue that if he did return and was anywhere near the leaderboard during the final round, it would get much higher ratings as well.

And the best part for Tiger? The fans will forgive him. I mean, like, immediately.

What better way to show that you're a human by playing in the midst of the wildest group of fans the PGA has to offer? And while he's at it, he should play for a charity. A couple even. Announce that he's coming back in a week and donating all of his 2010 winnings to one of his countless charitable organizations.

Not everyone in the world is ready to forgive Tiger. But I can certainly tell you that just about everyone that is a fan of golf is ready to forgive Tiger. Nothing quite like watching the paint-dry personalities of Lucas Glover, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Tim "Lumpy" Herron to get your weekend off to a raucous start. So far the most exciting thing to happen in golf this year has been John Daly's pants unless you count another one-and done, out-of-nowhere performance from once world No. 1 David Duval.

Golf needs Tiger terribly. It's so obvious, it was hard for PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem to contain his excitement when he announced the private public address scheduled for today at 11 a.m.

Obviously, Tiger has a lot of work to do to repair his image on the global scale. He'll likely never be perceived the same as he was. But he was on a pedestal for so long, when the crash came, it was enormous.

Tiger simply needs to play. So the world found out he was far from perfect. So what? No one is. I don't condone his actions whatsoever, but basically unless you're a murderer or something of the equivalent, the general public is so quick to forgive you if you just man up and say what you did was stupid.

That's obviously going to start this morning. But near total forgiveness will happen as soon as Tiger plays again, and if he has the willpower and guts that everyone in the world thought he had so much of before all of his "transgressions," he'll grow a pair and play next week in Phoenix.

E-mail B.J. Lisko at



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