Tiger talk a hot topic at PGA Tour's season opener

Wed Jan 6, 2010 9:41pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

KAPALUA, Hawaii (Reuters) - The absence of Tiger Woods from the PGA Tour has been a major talking point ahead of this week's SBS Championship with most of the players eager to see the American world number one back as soon as possible.

Although the chance of winning tournaments is always more likely when the game's leading player is not in the field, his peers agree the return of Woods to the U.S. circuit is urgently needed in these tough economic times.

"The Tour is better and sports are better when he is here," U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover told reporters on the eve of Thursday's opening round at the Kapalua Resort.

"I hope he comes back tomorrow as soon as possible because we need him and sport needs him."

Woods, the most popular and bankable player of his generation, announced last month he was taking an indefinite break from the game in the wake of embarrassing revelations about his personal life.

The 14-times major winner has been in hiding since admitting he had cheated on his wife and has given no timetable for his return to competition.

"You could say, man this is a great opportunity," American Glover said.

"But at the same time say somebody goes out and wins four tournaments and they happen to be four that Tiger usually plays.   Continued...

<p>Golfer Tiger Woods is shown on the cover of the February 2010 edition of Vanity Fair. REUTERS/Photograph Copyright 2010 by Annie Leibovitz; all rights reserved; N.Y.C./Vanity Fair/Handout</p>