Colin Montgomerie yesterday warned Tiger Woods that if and when he returns from his "indefinite break", he will do so minus his "aura".
Speaking the day after the world No 1 announced his self-enforced exile, Montgomerie talked of the boost his rivals will receive. "There was an aura, and that wall has been split slightly, so there are cracks and it gives us more opportunity of winning big events," said the Europe Ryder Cup captain. "He is suddenly – I hate to say – more normal. If that is normal! There is a mystique which has been lost and let's hope golf isn't damaged. It shouldn't be. Let's hope the tabloid press finish quickly but it will impact on every tournament Tiger plays next year."
When and where the 33-year-old next plays is the only subject which matters in golf. Woods admitted to his "infidelity" and talked of becoming a "better husband, father and person". But he gave no indication how long this might take, only using the term "indefinite break". That sounded ominous to fellow pros. "Indefinite is a scary word," said Geoff Ogilvy. "If Tiger indefinitely doesn't play, that's not good for us."