When Tiger plays, media members follow

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Tiger Woods finally was in action at PGA National Tuesday, drawing hundreds of fans for a practice round of the course.

His presence not only drew fans, but media from outlets all across the country also were out following Woods from hole to hole.

"Wherever Tiger Woods appears, the equation changes. He is as big a celebrity we've had in sports, in maybe my lifetime," said Jimmy Roberts of NBC Sports.

Roberts said part of the draw from the media is because, in his opinion, nobody in golf has won the way Woods has won.

Roberts also points out the interest in the rise and fall of Woods. "Is he going to return and be the player he once was? That's a compelling story. Is he not going to be able to accomplish that? That might be compelling as well," said Roberts.

It is the story line of redemption that ESPN's Tom Rinaldi said fuels a lot of talk.

Rinaldi said though, he has yet to see the potential downfall of Woods become a topic of conversation among fans. "The few voices that offer any dissent or criticism are so outnumbered they barely register and I'm not saying that as an apologist. I'm saying that as an observer," said Rinaldi.

The ESPN reporter said the other aspect that makes Woods so heavily covered at the present time, is that the outcome of the Honda Classic has a big impact on Woods's future.

"Everything is about building and funneling toward the first major of the year at Augusta. That's what is at stake at the Honda," said Rinaldi.

Some members of the national media said they are putting a big emphasis on the fact Woods is essentially playing at home.

They said Woods being able to sleep in his own house could have a big impact on how well he plays.
 

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