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Saturday, January 10, 2015

It's Official -- Tiger Starts His Season in Phoenix

In case you somehow missed the news, Tiger announced on his Twitter account that he'll be starting his season with back-to-back starts in Phoenix (where he hasn't played since 2001) and Torrey Pines.

To say that's caused a bit of excitement is an understatement. And not just in Phoenix, either.

Tiger

The rumors had been circulating for a couple of days and the TV folks had a variety of reactions. Tiger has played in Dubai the last few years, where he got appearance money, and I heard some say that the "cash grab" was over for Tiger. (I assume they meant he couldn't get the fees anymore.) Others suggested that the long flight was at odds with keeping his back healthy.

In a more positive vein, GC's Notah Begay said that it was a positive sign, that perhaps Tiger was opening up his schedule and looking to have some more fun. And over on ESPN, Andy North said he thinks it's an indication that Tiger is excited about getting back to the game. (Bear in mind that we rarely see him play back-to-back weeks early in the season.)

Many of us have wondered why Tiger hadn't played Phoenix in so long, but the AZCentral site (the Arizona Republic and News12 site) had some info I didn't remember. They write:
[2015 Tournament Chairman Dan] Calihan added that the Phoenix Thunderbirds will have to re-assess their security measures inside the Tournament Players Club of Scottsdale grounds to make sure Woods is "comfortable and safe."
Woods has not played in Phoenix Open since 2001. That year, a fan threw an orange onto the green while Woods was putting. In 1999, a spectator who heckled Woods was tackled to the ground by security and found to be in possession of a gun.
I can understand why Tiger would have been hesitant to return after all that... but then again, times do change.

Of course, Bob Harig may have uncovered the real reason for the choice when he suggested that Tiger has Super Bowl tickets. (It's being held in the University of Phoenix stadium this year.)

But whatever the reason, it looks like Tiger intends to make a lot of noise with his return to golf this year. It should certainly get the 2015 season off to a lively start.

The photo came from a post about the announcement at cbssports.com.

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