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Tiger Woods' return: First reactions
The embattled golfer has confirmed the rumors: He'll be playing at the Masters tournament next month. What should we expect?
Tiger Woods wins the Australian Master's in November 2009.
Tiger Woods wins the Australian Master's in November 2009.
Corbis
I

t's official. The golfer Tiger Woods will return to golf after a self-imposed four-month absence in the wake of a damaging sex scandal. Woods, considered by many the best golfer ever, will play at the Augusta National next month. (Watch an ESPN announcement of Tiger Woods' return.) Here, a quick roundup of initial opinions. Keep coming back for more opinion as the story develops:

It could be the greatest comeback ever
"There may not be a bigger celebrity in sports who had so much and came close to blowing it all," says Michael Ventre on NBC Sports. If he manages to come back from the "depths of public humiliation" to win this Masters, it  "might just be the greatest comeback of all time."

He'll be a changed man
This won't be the Tiger we were used to, says Jason Sobel at ESPN. He will "very likely be a changed man." Not just "contrite" and "polite," but "cautious around media and fans." The "increasingly emotional" Tiger we have seen "over the past few years" will be gone. In his place will be someone "emotionally and mentally prepared for the challenge." And, chances are, he'll win.

The Augusta Masters is the ideal venue
The decision to return at Augusta is very sensible, says Tim Cowlishaw at the Dallas Morning News. It is the "king" of controlled environments, with rowdy behavior punished immediately and the media "controlled in much the same way." Elsewhere, off-course distractions might hamper Tiger's return, but "not inside the ropes at Augusta."

It will definitely be the biggest TV event of the year
Forget about the SuperBowl, says the MarketWatch blog. The "intense" drama of this Augusta Masters will "generate the biggest television ratings of the year." CBS must be "ecstatic."

It's a lifesaver for the PGA
The Professional Golfers Association will be breathing a sigh of relief, says Kurt Badenhausen at Forbes. "With Woods on the sidelines," the PGA's TV ratings have fallen by 11%, and "sponsorship is hurting" badly, with "at least 10" of its tournaments still without a "primary sponsorship deal." Golf fans will rejoice, but for the PGA the return of Woods "comes not a moment too soon."

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SEE MORE OF THE WEEK'S COVERAGE OF TIGER WOODS:
Is Tiger Woods's sex addiction real?
Brit Hume: Tiger must find Christ
Tiger doctor's 'doping' scandal
Tiger's 'post racial' sex scandal?

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