The Tiger Woods waiting and guessing game goes on – just when it looked as if a date for his comeback was going to be announced.
Excitement mounted when PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem called a teleconference on Monday, but it was purely to announce a new tournament sponsorship deal.
Woods has been pictured practising and there has been mounting speculation that he could return to action in the unofficial Tavistock Cup next Monday and Tuesday, the Arnold Palmer Invitational later the same week or The Masters at August 8-11.
But Finchem was unable to shed any light on any of that and there was no announcement on the world number one’s website either.
“We have the general information that Tiger is preparing to play and there’s been a lot of speculation about when he might come back out,” said Finchem.
“Tiger’s indicated to us that he will give us reasonable notice because we know we’ve got some preparation to do.
“But I don’t have a specific date when he’s going to come back and I can only assume, though, that all this speculation about late March and early April, if he is going to start back then, we will know soon. Beyond that I can’t help you.”
Only yesterday Finchem had stated: “I’m as excited as everybody else to see him back I hope this spring, but my sense is we’ll know pretty soon.
“Everybody’s done looking back at the circumstances that resulted in him stepping away from the game and (are) now focused on when he’s going to play golf.
“I think that’s good. I think that means people are paying attention to what he said.
“It’s going to be huge when he comes back and it’s going to be an interesting thing – how he re-enters the game, how he plays, how he deals with the reaction to his statement.”
Woods last played on November 15, winning the Australian Masters in Melbourne.
Twelve days later came the car crash outside his home which put him first into hospital and then into hiding as a sex scandal erupted.
Woods admitted to “transgressions” on his website, then used the same forum to announce he was taking an indefinite break from the gave to try to save his marriage.
It was not until February 19 that he finally made a public appearance.
It was merely to read a statement rather than answer questions, however, and only towards the end of his 13-minute guilt-ridden, apology-laden address to family and friends at the headquarters of the PGA Tour did he actually mention his career.
“I do plan to return to golf one day, I just don’t know when that day will be.
“I don’t rule out that it will be this year. When I do return, I need to make my behaviour more respectful of the game.”
Not ruling out that it would be this year hinted that his lay-off would go on for many months at least, yet within days there was speculation that he was gearing up for a comeback much sooner than that.
He might still be, but the watching world has no answer yet.