Masters return will put Tiger to the test

PHILADELPHIA: Tiger Woods’ return at the Masters after

four months of self-imposed exile, will create

a circus atmosphere that will test his ability

to perform under maximum pressure, PGA Tour players said.

“We have all put him up on such a pedestal, not only in the golf, but we took for granted

the personal side, too,” golfer Steve Stricker said. “We’ll have to wait and see what the golf brings when he comes back. He’s a strong-minded person and it will I’m sure test him to the limits this time.”

Woods has not played since winning

the Australian Masters in mid-November

after a sex scandal in which he admitted cheating on wife Elin, apologising for igniting a tabloid frenzy where more than a dozen women have claimed affairs.

Speaking on the eve of the USPGA Transitions Championship, Stricker said Woods’ will be under the microscope and can probably expect some negative reaction from some golf fans. “It’s going to be a different feeling for him to come back this time,” Stricker said. “After a long lay over and really just the uneasiness of what he’s going to get from other people.”

South African Retief Goosen said Woods’

return on April 8 is good for the game but

it could be a bit of an eye opener as well. “I don’t think he’s going to be the bad guy,” Goosen said. “He’s going to be 99.9 per cent the good guy. There’s going to be that one per cent that’s going to make comments and that will probably is going to make him feel a little bit like the rest of us.”

American Notah Begay said people will

see a more humble, down to earth Woods when he comes back. “He is not a super hero or a robot,” said Begay, who is a good friend of Woods and has been in contact with him throughout the ordeal. Padraig Harrington said Woods’ return will have a profound affect on the PGA Tour. “It’s obviously great for golf that he’s back,” three-time major champion Padraig Harrington said.