ESPN: Tiger Woods & Ari Fleischer Formulating Plan To Return At Arnold Palmer Invitational

March 11th, 2010 – By Bryan Cross

According to a report issued by the New York Post, Tiger Woods could be making his return to golf within the month at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Woods has won the tournament, held annually a Bay Hill, on six occasions, including last year. He would be the defending champion in the event.

Additionally, Woods has sought the council of Ari Fleischer, former presidential press secretary under George W. Bush. Fleischer aided Mark McGwire earlier this year, after the former baseball player announced his usage of steroids publicly for the first time. Fleischer is said to be working with Woods over a schedule that would map out a return to golf.

Woods has been away from golf since he won the Australian Masters in November of last year following allegations, and then admissions of infidelity.

ESPN.com reports that a golf source stated that “[Woods and Fleischer] were in his living room this week going over a strategy for how to handle Bay Hill in two weeks.”

A second source stated that “I would be shocked if he didn’t play the Arnold Palmer.”

Fleischer started Ari Fleischer Sports Communications, which launched in 2008. He teamed with IMG Sports & Entertainment, which happens to be the company that represents the golfer. The Post tried to reach Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg for comment, but was unsuccessful.

Mark O’Meara, who is one of Wood’s closest friends, said to the Golf Channel that he “wouldn’t be surprised” if the top-ranked golfer competed in the Tavistock cup, which also takes place in March. The Tavistock Cup is an annual event between Woods’ and O’Meara’s home course of Isleworth, against nearby Lake Nona. Many well known golfers participate in the team event.

O’Meara believes that the event would be an ideal place for Woods to make a comeback, and could help his friend continue his road to making amends.

“It’s been a rough road the last three or four months in Tiger’s life and his family’s life,” O’Meara said to the Golf Channel. “It’s a very difficult situation. Golf is what Tiger does, and possibly part of the healing process is to get back at it.”

Woods ended a long hiatus from the public eye last month when he made his first public appearance. He made his remarks at the PGA headquarters in Florida in a 13-minute speech, apologizing for the events that transpired.

“I do plan to return to golf one day,” Woods remarked at one point in his speech. “I just don’t know when that day will be. I don’t rule out that it will be this year.”

Currently, PGA Betting Lines assume that Woods will not be a participant in the 2010 Masters in April. Bodog Sportsbook favors Phil Mickelson, with odds at 11/2

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