Tiger Woods made his return to golf last week at the 2010 Masters following a five-month self-imposed absence from the game, stemming from a sex scandal involving several acts of infidelity on the part of the top-ranked golfer.
Woods’ opening round at Augusta National was one of the most anticipated in history, and he came out firing a 68. Woods kept himself in contention throughout the entire week, but showed signs of rust on the weekend, and finished in fourth position.
Following his last round on Sunday, Woods stated that he was unsure of when he would return, and would evaluate his situation.
This week, it was announced that Woods filed to play in the U.S Open at Pebble Beach that begins on June 17.
It was thought that the U.S Open would be his next tournament that he would play in, until he entered Quail Hollow on April 29.
Kym Hougham, the tournament’s director, stated that Quail Hollow believed Woods might play, and have since undergone recent measures to ensure that proper security will be present on the grounds. However Hougham believes that there should be no problems with fans.
“I think our crowds are very respectful and they always have been. The players have always told us that,” Hougham remarked. “If there is inappropriate behavior, we’ll act on it swiftly. I’m sure that if Tiger didn’t feel we could handle it he wouldn’t be coming here.”
The commitment to Quail Hollow was a full two weeks prior to the event, which is unusual for Woods historically, as he typically waits until near the deadline before officially entering.
Woods had a full week longer to commit.
“It’s going to be a huge benefit for the people who have been waiting to buy tickets,” Hougham said. “Ironically, our Saturday daily tickets sold out yesterday. Friday and Sunday are not far behind, so this will probably put us over the top, which we’re excited about. The economy has made people change their buying habits and people are waiting longer.”
Woods has competed at Quail Hollow four times in his career, having won in 2007.
In the week leading up to the tournament, Woods’ plans are unknown. Last season Woods competed in the Pro-Am and played with Colts’ quarterback Peyton Manning.
“One day I heard he was coming, then one day I heard he wasn’t coming,” remarked Hougham. “It really didn’t matter to us at that point because we had to plan as if he was. Then if he didn’t come we wouldn’t have to implement a few things.
“We’re happy he let us know this far in advance. We never had this much notice. It’s great for the city of Charlotte. Ticket sales I’m sure will increase now.”
Despite the five-month long absence from golf, Woods was installed as the betting favorite entering the 2010 Masters. That theme continues for the U.S Open in June, as the top-ranked golfer is the favorite, with Masters Champion Phil Mickelson second on Online Sportsbooks.