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Published: Sunday, 3/21/2010

Woods' return

Since 1997, the chief constant in golf has been the dominance of Tiger Woods. At 34, he is the game's most recognized and celebrated player.

But as the public has learned over the past four months, Tiger Woods is also a flawed human being. After lurid details emerged of his dalliances with cocktail waitresses, porn stars, strippers, and assorted party girls, the image of the dedicated and disciplined husband and father that Mr. Woods cultivated took a major hit.

Overnight, he went from universally admired to roundly excoriated. Major sponsors abandoned him. His sad family drama dominated supermarket tabloids for months, turning him into a late-night-TV punch line.

Mr. Woods withdrew from the public eye, received counseling, worked on his marriage, and said he was dedicating himself to being the kind of person his fans always assumed he was. All that is fine and necessary, but another welcome development is Tiger Woods' return to the game. Last week, he announced he will compete next month in the Masters, played at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia.

Before the scandal, Mr. Woods' television appearances guaranteed high ratings. Now that he's back in the hunt, he'll be an even bigger draw. If he wins his fifth green jacket at Augusta, he will show that he has not lost his talent and can still focus on the game.

That would be good news for the golfing world, but fans also would like to see him get his family life back in order. If he wins there, it will be fun to root for Tiger all over again.

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