Tiger Woods ratcheted up his contentious relationship with the media this week, opting out of his traditional pre-tournament interview. Instead, as he heads into the Wells Fargo Championship, Woods posted a video on his website, TigerWoods.com, answering hand-picked questions from fans.
Suspicious queries about Woods' choice of energy drinks and golf clubs allowed him to plug products he endorses. There was no mention of his club-kicking meltdown at the Masters, for which he was heavily criticized -- and perhaps was the reason Woods snubbed the media this week.
Following Woods' rather public divorce, there was some reconciliation with the press. But dealing with questions following the release of "The Big Miss," the tell-all book written by his former swing coach, Hank Haney, and his poor play and bad manners at Augusta has put Woods back on the defensive.
At a news conference before the Honda Classic, Woods had an uncomfortable exchange with Golf Channel commentator Alex Miceli, who pressed about revelations in the Haney book. With his voice cracking, Woods, clearly upset, told Miceli, "Have a nice day."
In the 14-minute video Woods posted Monday, there was little of substance. His guarded, predictable news conferences are much the same but still are valuable tools to promote tournaments and golf in general, according to Golf Channel commentator John Hawkins.
"He never says anything in those things anyway," Hawkins said Wednesday on "Morning Drive." "But it's the face time. There's value in the visual product -- Tiger Woods with the Nike cap on, talking about golf. May not have a ton of nutritional value for the intense golf fan, but there is some commercial value there for Wells Fargo, the PGA Tour."
After three weeks off following the Masters, Woods tees off Thursday afternoon with Webb Simpson and Geoff Ogilvy in a tournament he last won in 2007. Woods also plans to play next week in the Players Championship. Hard work with swing coach Sean Foley over the last two weeks has Woods feeling confident at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, N.C.
"I was struggling with my ball striking," Woods said on his website. "Sean and I fixed it. It had to do with my posture. My setup wasn't quite right, as well as my takeaway. We just needed to do hundreds of reps. It's dialed in."
Woods is far from the lone drawing card in the Wells Fargo. Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson also will play this week for the first time since the Masters. Two years ago at Quail Hollow, McIlroy captured his first PGA Tour victory, closing with a final-round 62.
This is one of the few PGA Tour events Mickelson regularly plays but has never won, though he often plays well. He was victim of McIlroy's charge in 2010, finishing second. It was one of seven finishes in the top 12 in the last eight years for Lefty at Quail Hollow, one of his favorite tour stops.
"When this tournament came into existence, it was done right," Mickelson told reporters. "A lot of the members here are members at Augusta. They know how the greatest tournament in the world is run. They implemented a lot of those subtleties and nuances right from day one."