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TIGER WOODS AT NEWS CONFERENCE WEDNESDAY.

All week long, there has been speculation in the press about how Tiger Woods would fare as he prepared to tee off against a full field of  fellow PGA Tour pros for the first time in 17 months,

Even after his long-awaited return in a tournament in December, even Woods admitted he didn’t know what to expect as he readied to attack Torrey Pines in San Diego. a course where he has historically had success. Surely, Woods will want to improve on the 15th-place finish in his last outing. Given his ultra-competitive nature, if Tiger does not perform up to his own demanding standards, he will take action himself. In the past, Woods has not needed the Leaderboard or the PGA Officials to tell him he missed the cut. At times (such as in November) Woods has voluntarily removed himself from tournaments.

While it is unclear whether Tiger will ever be as feared or as totally dominant as when he first came on the Tour, all eyes will be on him in San Diego. Whether in this weekend’s galleries, where Tournament Hosts expect a increased attendance or on television, where executives at NBC and the GOLF CHANNEL will watch ratings more closely than usual, Woods mere presence will be a boon across the board.

Tiger must have his trademark concentration turned up to its highest level, as there were distractions this week aside from the media horde. Before stepping onto the first tee, Woods this week signed a new endorsement deal with Tailor-made and  dealt with the death of a young man who he mentored in his Foundation.

Even with these myriad circumstances demanding Woods’ attention coupled with a bogey on the first hole Thursday, the competitors will not take Woods lightly.