Ogilvy: Woods needs to respect sport

Updated: January 20, 2010, 6:20 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- Tiger Woods should come out and answer his critics in public before making his return to tournament golf, Australian Geoff Ogilvy said on Wednesday.

Woods, who is taking an indefinite break from playing, has been in hiding since admitting last month he had cheated on his wife.

"Tiger should actually come out in public before, and not at a golf tournament," Ogilvy told reporters on the eve of the Abu Dhabi Championship.

"One, out of respect for all the other golfers, and two, to diffuse the circus part of it before he actually gets to a golf tournament. I don't believe a lot of tournaments want all the tabloid media floating around.

"It would be nice if he came out away from a golf tournament. When he does come back to golf it would still be a bit crazy but that tabloid edge might be gone."

Woods is receiving treatment at a sex rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi, Benoit Denizet-Lewis, author of a book titled "America Anonymous: Eight Addicts in Search of a Life" and himself a recovering sex addict, wrote on his personal blog Monday, citing an unnamed source.

Last week, Radar Online and Jackson, Miss., television stations WJTV and WLBT reported through sources that Woods was at the Hattiesburg clinic.

Officials at the clinic have not confirmed that Woods is there, and ESPN independently has not been able to confirm that Woods is at the clinic.

Ogilvy Tiger should actually come out in public before, and not at a golf tournament. One, out of respect for all the other golfers, and two, to diffuse the circus part of it before he actually gets to a golf tournament. I don't believe a lot of tournaments want all the tabloid media floating around.

-- Geoff Ogilvy

Ogilvy said Woods may opt to choose the media-controlled atmosphere of the Masters in April for his comeback.

"The least amount of circus he could face would be if he went to Augusta first, as that would be the most controlled environment he could be in," Ogilvy said. "But then if he truly wants to win at Augusta he's going to want to play before then. Whenever he returns, it's going to be a big day.

"The first press conference he does is going to be a crazy one. A lot of people who have been afraid to ask questions for 10 or 12 years won't be quite as hesitant to ask questions as they used to be and Tiger is going to have to answer questions."

Ogilvy, a former U.S. Open champion, said the other competitors would probably want to avoid playing alongside Woods on his return because of the massive amount of attention it would create.

"At a golf tournament it's going to be crazy whatever happens and there's going to be a lot of stuff going on inside the ropes when he comes back," he said. "It would probably not be ideal to have to play with him."

When Woods does return to the PGA Tour, Ogilvy said the American will get back to his best.

"Tiger has always impressed when he had had lots going on around him with expectation, pressure and crazy stuff," said Ogilvy, who won the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot.

As for his own game, Ogilvy said he was brimming with confidence after retaining his SBS Championship title in Hawaii two weeks ago.

"Winning early in a new season ... is pretty high on your priority list," he said."It's a big boost."

Information from Reuters and The Associated Press was used in this report.