Fan Reaction To Tiger Woods On Minds of Fellow PGA Tour Players

April 3rd, 2010- By Bryan Cross

Tiger Woods is set to make his return inside the ropes next week at the Masters, following a four-month long hiatus from the course after a sex scandal broke last December.

His once spotless image is tarnished, and his position with the public is in the most fragile state it has ever been.  Curiosity of the state of his golf game is met with equal curiosity of fan reaction during the event.

While the August National Golf Club is very guarded and strict during the tournament week, it would still only seem likely that a few of the patrons within the sanctions of the golf course will try and interject a smart comment here and there.

Fellow tour players are not quite sure what to expect, and share the same sentiments of the public with respect to reactions.

“I don’t think he’s going to be the bad guy; he’s going to be 99 percent the good guy,” remarked Retief Goosen, who has won 2 U.S Opens in his career. “There’s going to be that 1 percent that makes comments, and that is probably going to make him feel a little bit like the rest of us.”

Goosen was speaking from an experience of his own in the 2004 U.S Open in which some fans yelled out negative statements towards him, with the hope that playing partner Phil Mickelson would play his way to victory.

“You have comments from people trying to put you off and make mistakes,” he stated. “So, in a way, I think the most interesting thing to see is what’s going to happen when he actually gets out and see what the crowd is going to react like toward the situation.”

The consensus is that Woods will be received well, but the unknown or outliers is what is concerning for players, officials, and fans alike.

“It’s always the minority that spoil it for the majority in any sense,” said Colin Montgomerie, who has had his fare share of taunts from fans.. “But Tiger is different. He has a spotlight and has had it on him for the last 10 years. So he’s been used to this most of his professional career.

“So I don’t envisage many problems arising with that at all. He’s the most focused sportsman I’ve ever known, and I think he will adapt accordingly.”

Another player who has a history with fans throwing out verbal abuses is Sergio Garcia, which was highlighted during the 2002 U.S Open.

“In a way, it definitely can pull you in a way to think, ‘I am going to show them,'” remarked Garcia. “If you take it the right way, it can help you, make you stronger. If you take it the wrong way, it might go a little south.

“It’s going to be interesting to see, to see how people react. There are obviously going to be people there to watch golf, and they are going to pull for his golf. And there are going to be people there pulling for other reasons. Even before everything happened, you still hear people saying things that they shouldn’t say to him, to all of us. You might hear a little bit more now.”

“If you are mentally strong like he is, you will be all right.”

Despite this being the first competitive round for the top-ranked golf this year, he is installed as the betting favorite to win the 2010 Masters, going off at 4/1 on Bodog.

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