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Sports | Woods' toughest tests at Augusta won't come from Amen Corner

Issue: "O Jerusalem," April 10, 2010

When Tiger Woods announced his intention to return to golf for the Masters this spring, he triggered a media buzz that made the healthcare debate look almost like a city council squabble. The world's best golfer had sidelined himself from the sport for four months after news surfaced of rampant infidelity. Now, after a public apology during which he refused to answer any questions from the press, Woods will face what figures to be the most scrutinized four rounds of golf ever.

Of course, scrutiny is nothing new for the superstar, whose golf rounds habitually draw the bulk of television coverage and crowds four to five times the size of those for his competitors. But this will be different. The intensely private Woods, who has always welcomed the attention afforded his golf game, will now hold the gaze of a nation far more intrigued with his personal life, an arena he has taken great pains to withhold from public view. At the Masters, his public and private personas will converge, the two once neatly compartmentalized spheres colliding in a mess amid azaleas.

Had Woods only faced the full force of press inquiries weeks ago, he might have spared himself some measure of madness come tee time. As it stands, the wizard of athletic focus will need all the magic he can muster to make this tournament about golf.

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The anti-slacker

Former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow has raised his NFL draft stock, according to many football analysts, by working with former Bucs coach Jon Gruden and others to remove the slack in his throwing motion. In just five weeks, Tebow developed a tighter release that keeps the ball up nearer his ear through delivery, protecting against swipes from oncoming pass rushers and getting the ball out quicker.

Still, few draft prognosticators predict any team will burn a first- or second-round pick on the Heisman Trophy winner come April 22. The consensus belief among scouts remains that Tebow is a long-term project who may never pan out as a successful NFL quarterback.

But what of character, leadership, work ethic? In such so-called intangibles, Tebow is a dream pick. And his willingness and discipline to alter throwing mechanics over a short period of time has only helped. If the two-time national title winner is selected prior to the third round, it will be for such non-athletic qualities. Hoping for that interest-­building scenario, the NFL has invited Tebow to experience the draft in person at Radio City Music Hall in New York-perhaps the first ever third-round prospect to receive such an invitation.

Spin cycle

ESPN commentator Tony Kornheiser, who was recently suspended for comments he made about colleague Hannah Storm's wardrobe, is in a bit of hot water again after a recent radio diatribe on cyclists. In reaction to news that Washington, D.C., would be adding bicycle lanes, Kornheiser called all cyclists "posers," who wear "stupid hats" and "shiny shorts," suggesting that D.C. drivers should "run them down."

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong responded on Twitter, calling Kornheiser an "idiot" and his remarks "disgusting, ignorant, foolish." -M.B.


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