Woods urged to face media circus

The straight-talking Australian Geoff Ogilvy has advised the world No 1 to diffuse the situation by answering all questions away from the golf course.

Geoff Ogilvy talks to the media on his first visit to the capital.
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ABU DHABI // Tiger Woods was yesterday urged to do his fellow professionals a big favour and make his long-awaited public reappearance at a non-golfing event. The plea came from the former US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy, a straight-talking Australian who has high hopes of making a winning debut in this weekend's Abu Dhabi Championship after opening his campaign successfully in Hawaii earlier this month.

Ogilvy argued that it would be unfair to be subjected to the media frenzy that would greet Tiger's comeback from a self- imposed exile from the game in the wake of the infidelity scandal surrounding his private life. It would be preferable in Ogilvy's view for the world No 1 to try to diffuse the situation by facing the cameras and answering the barrage of tabloid newspaper questions away from the golf course.

"It's going to be a big day whenever he comes back into the spotlight. If he doesn't show up in public until he gets to a golf tournament then it's going to be crazy. He is going to be asked a lot of questions. A lot of people who have been afraid to ask questions for the last 10 years won't be quite as hesitant as they used to be," said Ogilvy. "If all this happens at a golf tournament there is going to be a lot of stuff going on inside the ropes, or even just outside the ropes, so it would probably not be ideal to be drawn to play alongside him that week.

"It is hard playing with him at any time with all the craziness that goes on but that first week back, whenever it may be, is going to be a circus involving non-golf media which will make things even harder. "I think it would be the best thing for him, for every other player and for the tournament, for him to face the public beforehand. It would be a show of respect for all his fellow players who all want to see him back one day."

Ogilvy was asked where would be the best place for Woods to make his eagerly-awaited comeback. "Augusta would be the most controlled environment he could be in but if he truly wanted to win [the US Masters] there, he is going to want to play before then." Ogilvy was in talkative mood on his first visit to Abu Dhabi after the exhilaration of his Hawaiian triumph, the ninth victory of his career. "It is really good to find your best form at the start of the year," said the 32-year-old.

"I suppose that could give me an advantage here over some of the guys who haven't played for a while but you can never tell. "Some guys thrive after a break and some guys need to play coming into form. I think you will see both here. Some guys will be a bit rusty and find that their short game isn't quite working properly. "We'll just have to see how it works out." @Email:wjohnson@thenational.ae