NBC curiously sent out a news release Saturday featuring Johnny Miller's response to a question posed online by a viewer during the network's telecast of the WGC-CA Championship.
The question: "If the Masters is Tiger's first tournament, would you consider him the favorite and does that change if he plays at Bay Hill?"
Miller's response: "If he wants to win at Augusta, which he does, he's going to have to play Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill tournament. No doubt about that. I really believe he needs to get one tournament under his belt -- get the cobwebs out, get his confidence going. And you can't do that at the Tavistock [Cup]...You've got to play it under competition. Even if you don't play well at Bay Hill, you just have to get things going, get the train going down the tracks. The big thing of Bay Hill is that he's got to go through all the hoopla, not just of the sports coverage, but the entertainment coverage. Get it out of his system. Answer the questions. Get it behind him. Go to Augusta and go ahead and win that green jacket."
Miller might be right, though it should be noted that Woods won the U.S. Open in 2008 after sitting out two months while recovering from knee surgery. And even in the run-up to the Open he was unable to practice much as a result of pain.
The question is why NBC saw fit to issue a news release, other than to try to drum up interest in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which airs on NBC. And, of course, it would provide the network a huge ratings boost were Woods to return there.
Are you listening, Tiger? Probably not.
-- John Strege