Tiger’s return helps more than just tabloids

Golf is back in Nash Charbonneau’s life. Not just because golf courses are opening around Toronto this early spring, but also because one of Charbonneau’s heroes is back. In fact, when Tiger Woods appears at the U.S. Open later this summer, Charbonneau will be there watching with his father.

“I’ve booked a seven-day ticket because I want to see him play on the range,” Charbonneau said. “Watching him swing a club is inspirational.”

Tiger Woods reappeared this week as the Masters began in Augusta, Ga. The tournament not only signalled the official beginning of the golf season, but the return of Tiger Woods to the game he abruptly left when his infidelity was revealed last November.

“I’d like (to ask that) all the players be left alone to focus on the Masters and focus on their game,” he said in a press conference, last Monday.

Perhaps more important than Woods’ re-emergence, however, is his effect on the game of golf from the grassroots level on up.

Sean Casey, director of instruction at Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ont., and member of the Canadian PGA Tour, thinks that his return does nothing but benefit the game.

“I think this has the potential to be one of the best Masters yet thanks to the hype (surrounding Woods),” Casey said. “There’s probably going to be more viewers than ever.”

Bill Oughtred is a regular at the Bigwin Golf Course near Huntsville, Ont. Like Casey, he’s happy to see Woods back with the tour.

“There’s been something lacking since he’s been gone,” he said. “It’s too bad Tiger Woods didn’t come out and speak in December. But anybody worth his salt in golf is going to forgive (him).”

Especially his sponsors, said Paul McVeigh, owner of the Golf Authority Pro Shop at 124 Church St. in Toronto.

“Everyone makes money off (Woods),” he said. “They should love him.”

McVeigh also said that he hasn’t seen any change in his sales since Woods scandal began.

McVeigh insists that Woods draws a crowd, and that what happens in his personal life is his own business and shouldn’t reflect badly on the game of golf.

For Nash Charbonneau seeing Tiger Woods at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach in July, is a pilgrimage.

“Like watching Da Vinci paint,” Charbonneau said.