Late Masters Entry Rule to Provide Tiger Surprise?

The ASSOCIATED PRESS slips in an interesting note about The Masters today that could aid in the return of Tiger Woods.

Snow at Augusta National less than two months before The Masters

Players typically have until 5 p.m. Friday the week before a tournament to commit to playing. In the U.S. Open and British Open, they must submit an entry form.

The Masters is by invitation and has no such rules. So if Tiger Woods decides to play the first major of the year, he only needs to show up before his tee time on Thursday.

Masters spokesman Steve Ethun said when Woods announced his indefinite break from golf on Dec. 11, Woods’ spokesman Glenn Greenspan (who previously had Ethun’s job) said he would keep Augusta National apprised.

The Masters sent Woods an invite in December and Masters spokesman Ethun was asked recently what Woods’ status for the tournament was.

He said, “We have yet to hear any word.”

If and when Woods does commit though, you think The Masters will make that public until Woods sets foot on Augusta National? I highly doubt it.

Because of the unusual entry rules, I’m inclined to think that Woods would make his comeback at The Masters. The magnitude of the tournament would bring on-course pressure, but because Woods could keep his appearance there a secret until the very last moment, Augusta fits his modus operandi to a tee.

Also consider that The Masters is as policed environment with the press as any major sporting event in the world and Woods already has the run of the place.

I still think there’s a chance Woods could come back at Bay Hill because of the favorable logistics and his relationship with Arnold Palmer, but The Masters appears to be on equal footing in that regard.

(Photo credit: WaggleRoom.com)