Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Tiger Woods keeps world waiting for a return date

Tiger Woods (R) jogs with an unidentified friend near his home on February 17, 2010 in Orlando, Florida
Tiger Woods (R) jogs with an unidentified friend near his home on February 17, 2010 in Orlando, Florida
Tiger Woods
Reporters listen as Golfer Tiger Woods makes a statement
Reporters listen as Tiger Woods makes a statement from the Sunset Room on the second floor of the TPC Sawgrass
The radio show MJ Morning show personalities Victory Martin (L) and Meredith Walusek stand near one of the entrances to where golfer Tiger Woods plans on making a statement at TPC Sawgrass on February 19, 2010 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
Former adult film actress Veronica Siwik-Daniels (aka Joslyn James)
Former adult film actress Veronica Siwik-Daniels, right, (aka Joslyn James)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 3: Former adult film actress Veronica Siwik-Daniels (aka Joslyn James), who claims to have had a long-term intimate relationship with golf icon Tiger Woods, appears at a press conference at the offices of attorney Gloria Allred on February 3, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Allred and Siwik-Daniels are calling for the end of the production of golf balls bearing an image of Siwik in the product series, "Tail of the Tiger - The Mistress Collection". Allred argues that putting the face of a woman on a ball which golfers hit with full force could result in marks on the image that might resemble bruises and may lead to inappropriate jokes about hitting women. James says that she loved Woods and had reason to believe that he loved her. She has been in seclusion and has not talked to the press until now. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Veronica Siwik-Daniels
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 3: Attorney Gloria Allred uses a golf golf cut-out to simulate how a club hitting a ball with the face of a woman could leave marks that look like bruises during a press conference with former adult film actress Veronica Siwik-Daniels (aka Joslyn James), who claims to have had a long-term intimate relationship with golf icon Tiger Woods, at the offices of Allred on February 3, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Allred and Siwik-Daniels are calling for the end of the production of golf balls bearing an image of Siwik in the product series, "Tail of the Tiger - The Mistress Collection". Allred argues that putting the face of a woman on a ball which golfers hit with full force could result in marks on the image that might resemble bruises and may lead to inappropriate jokes about hitting women. James says that she loved Woods and had reason to believe that he loved her. She has been in seclusion and has not talked to the press until now. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 3: Attorney Gloria Allred uses a golf golf cut-out to simulate how a club hitting a ball with the face of a woman could leave marks that look like bruises during a press conference with former adult film actress Veronica Siwik-Daniels (aka Joslyn James), who claims to have had a long-term intimate relationship with golf icon Tiger Woods, at the offices of Allred on February 3, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Allred and Siwik-Daniels are calling for the end of the production of golf balls bearing an image of Siwik in the product series, "Tail of the Tiger - The Mistress Collection". Allred argues that putting the face of a woman on a ball which golfers hit with full force could result in marks on the image that might resemble bruises and may lead to inappropriate jokes about hitting women. James says that she loved Woods and had reason to believe that he loved her. She has been in seclusion and has not talked to the press until now. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 3: Attorney Gloria Allred (R) leads former adult film actress Veronica Siwik-Daniels (aka Joslyn James), who claims to have had a long-term intimate relationship with golf icon Tiger Woods, near a picture of a golf ball bearing the face of a woman as the leave a press conference at the offices of Allred on February 3, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Allred and Siwik-Daniels are calling for the end of the production of golf balls bearing an image of Siwik in the product series, "Tail of the Tiger - The Mistress Collection". Allred argues that putting the face of a woman on a ball which golfers hit with full force could result in marks on the image that might resemble bruises and may lead to inappropriate jokes about hitting women. James says that she loved Woods and had reason to believe that he loved her. She has been in seclusion and has not talked to the press until now. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 3: Attorney Gloria Allred uses a golf golf cut-out to simulate how a club hitting a ball with the face of a woman could leave marks that look like bruises during a press conference with former adult film actress Veronica Siwik-Daniels (aka Joslyn James), who claims to have had a long-term intimate relationship with golf icon Tiger Woods, at the offices of Allred on February 3, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Allred and Siwik-Daniels are calling for the end of the production of golf balls bearing an image of Siwik in the product series, "Tail of the Tiger - The Mistress Collection". Allred argues that putting the face of a woman on a ball which golfers hit with full force could result in marks on the image that might resemble bruises and may lead to inappropriate jokes about hitting women. James says that she loved Woods and had reason to believe that he loved her. She has been in seclusion and has not talked to the press until now. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 3: Former adult film actress Veronica Siwik-Daniels (aka Joslyn James), who claims to have had a long-term intimate relationship with golf icon Tiger Woods, takes her seat near an drawing of a golf ball with her face on it at a press conference at the offices of attorney Gloria Allred on February 3, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Allred and Siwik-Daniels are calling for the end of the production of golf balls bearing an image of Siwik in the product series, "Tail of the Tiger - The Mistress Collection". Allred argues that putting the face of a woman on a ball which golfers hit with full force could result in marks on the image that might resemble bruises and may lead to inappropriate jokes about hitting women. James says that she loved Woods and had reason to believe that he loved her. She has been in seclusion and has not talked to the press until now. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Tiger Woods with Elin Nordegren
Tiger Woods and his wife Elin
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods celebrates with wife Elin Nordegren after winning the 88th PGA Championship golf tournament
Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren
United States Ryder Cup team player Tiger Woods and his wife Elin leave at the end of the opening ceremony for the 2006 Ryder Cup
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
Three of the women whose names have been associated with Tiger Woods in recent weeks - Kalika Moquin (left), Rachel Uchitel (centre) and 24-year-old cocktail waitress Jaimee Grubbs
Holly Sampson was linked with Tiger Woods
Holly Sampson linked with Tiger Wood
Tiger Woods' wife, Elin Nordegren, rides next to Woods after winning the US Open championship at Torrey Pines Golf Course
Tiger Woods
Rachel Uchitel

Tiger Woods issued an emotional apology for cheating on wife Elin and made it clear he has no immediate plans to return to golf as he continues to spend time in therapy.

Woods has been the dominant figure in golf ever since he turned professional in 1996 and won two of his first seven events, and has gone on to win 14 major titles, four short of Jack Nicklaus' record of 18.

Jack Nicklaus captured those crowns between 1962 and 1986 and 34-year-old Woods was way ahead of that pace before first injury and then infidelity forced him away from the course.

His return from a knee injury came last February but, amid rumours of problems in his marriage, he remained on 14 throughout 2009.

And then the year ended, of course, with the father of two going on another "indefinite break" to try to mend his ways as reports of multiple affairs hit the headlines.

Woods' first major victory was the 1997 Masters, the first he had played after leaving the amateur ranks.

After going to the turn in 40 on the opening day, paired with defending champion Nick Faldo, he went on to win by a record 12 shots and with a record 18-under-par total. At 21 he was also the youngest-ever winner at Augusta.

Although he was the centre of attention wherever he went after that - 'Tigermania' was born - it was not until the last major of 1999 that he triumphed again, holding off Sergio Garcia to capture the US PGA title.

What followed the following season was nothing short of sensational.

At Pebble Beach he won the US Open by a record 15 strokes and a month later he took the Open at St Andrews by eight.

By retaining the US PGA after a play-off with fellow Californian Bob May he returned to the Masters in April 2001 with the chance to achieve golf's first-ever clean sweep of the majors - and did it to complete what became known as the 'Tiger Slam'.

Two more majors came the following year and two more in 2005, including another triumph at St Andrews by five over Colin Montgomerie.

Woods added a third Open title at Hoylake in 2006 just after the death of his father Earl, but his 14th major was perhaps the most remarkable of them all.

It came in the US Open at Torrey Pines in 2008 when he beat Rocco Mediate despite being in obvious agony with his knee.

Only after the play-off did Woods reveal to the world just how bad he was. As well as needing immediate surgery on his knee he played with two stress fractures in his leg.

His lay-off meant he missed the last two majors of that season and the Ryder Cup - the one competition in which Woods does not have a great record.

Only once has he been on the winning side since his debut at Valderrama in Spain in 1997.

Off the course, naturally, Woods has coined it in. It is estimated that he earns over 100 million US dollars annually from endorsements and appearances fees, although his image has taken a battering because of the problems in his private life.

His last event was the Australian Masters in November. It cost the organisers three million US dollars to get him there, it was reported, and yet such was the interest created that it was generally considered money well spent in Melbourne. And Woods won.

Nobody underestimates how much of the credit for golf's increased purses and profile is down to Woods since he first arrived on the scene.

Prize money has gone through the roof and television viewing figures rocket whenever and wherever he is playing.

His Foundation charity has already raised many millions and his background - his late father was an African American and his mother is Thai - has helped to take golf to a new audience.

Introduced to his wife Elin nine years ago by European Ryder Cup player Jesper Parnevik, they were engaged in 2003 and married in 2004.

Daughter Sam Alexis was born in June 2007 and son Charlie Axel arrived last February.

They are too young, of course, to grasp all that has been happening in the past few months. But Woods must know he faces a lot of awkward questions from them in the years to come.

And unlike at today's gathering in Florida for his first public utterances since the scandal broke, there will be questions he will have to answer.

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