RBC Heritage

Harbour Town Golf Links

The Loop

Tiger and the hecklers

March 11, 2010

When Tiger Woods does return to golf, typically polite golf crowds no doubt will include interlopers determined to rile him. The question is: How will he deal with them?

"To hear Brad Faxon tell it, the hecklers will have no chance," Teddy Greenstein wrote in the Chicago Tribune this week.

Faxon said that when Woods has encountered vocal galleries in the past, "he walks by like the deafest person in the world. He has always been able to tune that stuff out."

That's not necessarily a given in this case. Woods isn't deaf; how many times have we seen him stop in mid-swing over a camera click or an innocuous noise coming from elsewhere? Recall, too, that at his induction into the Stanford Athletic Hall of Fame during halftime of the Stanford-Cal game last November, he was momentarily rattled by loud booing coming from the Cal fans in attendance.

Woods' focus may be greater than any athlete in the world, but it surely has never been tested to the extent it will be upon his return.

-- John Strege