News & ToursApril 5, 2010

Woods' first tentative steps back

The golf might be the easier part for Tiger Woods, which wouldn't bode well for the rest of the field when the Masters commences on Thursday. Woods is famously reluctant to reveal too much of himself, so to be called on to do so, on national television and with what figures to have been an enormous audience, has to have been the more difficult assignment.

There are areas that remain off limits, notably the events that resulted in his crashing his Cadillac Escalade in the early hours of Nov. 29 and his relationship with wife Elin (on the latter point he noted only that she would not be in Augusta).

Otherwise, he was more forthright than usual. He lamented missing son Charlie's first birthday, for instance, and acknowledged that federal authorities have spoken with his agent Mark Steinberg regarding Dr. Anthony Galea (and pledged his full cooperation).

Presumably, Woods prepared for this news conference the way a candidate would for a debate, anticipating the questions he might be asked and how he would respond. That said, for the first time in three public appearances, his answers, for the most part, did not seem to have been rehearsed, at least to the extreme they had in the past..

It's difficult to measure one's sincerity and claim any degree of accuracy, of course. Sam Barnes, who arranged a clinic Woods gave in 1995 for former Augusta caddies and black youth (about which I wrote here), had it right when I spoke with him last week.

"It's not going to go away real quick," Barnes said. "It's going to take a long time. Words won't do no good. You've got to back them up with actions."

Woods acknowledged as such in his news conference. It's a start.

-- John Strege

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