News 12 at 6 o'clock, March 23, 2010
AUGUSTA, Ga. --- The buzz has been building for weeks. And now, with news that Tiger Woods spent Monday and Tuesday practicing at the Augusta National, people are talking about what the Tiger factor will mean for the big week.
Just down the street from the course, John Boatman is one of several people at Somewhere in Augusta who heard he was in town.
"I was surprised that this is his first tournament back, but Augusta National runs such a tight, controlled environment that it makes total sense," he says.
John will attend the final rounds of Masters, and doesn't expect the tournament itself to be any different from previous years.
"Inside the gates, I don't think anything will change. The tournament will carry on," he says. "Outside the gates, I'm sure there will be a little extra activity."
Managers at Somewhere in Augusta are gearing up for a big week, and hope the extra Tiger traffic means extra money.
"People are very excited to have him back in town. He is the world's best golfer," says Karen Miller, manager of Somewhere in Augusta. "We're hoping a little bit of that will rub off to us."
They even made t-shirts to sell, marking his return to the game.
"They seem to be selling really, really fast," she says.
The town may be talking, but Richmond County Sheriff Ronnie Strength says as far as security and preparations go, they don't expect too much change from previous years.
"We've been doing the Masters for many, many, many years," he says. "We can almost do it standing on our head now."
But with Tiger coming back, he says they expect more traffic.
"This is going to be a first for us too, so we could never say 'this is going to happen,' we don't know," he says.
And as for on the course, golf teacher Art Smith expects a wide range of responses to Tiger's return.
"I think some people actually are gonna be going out there rooting for him to do poorly," he says. "And then, of course, he's gonna have his fans who hope that he does well."
Sources tell News 12 Tiger flew out of Augusta Regional Airport around 4:30 Tuesday afternoon.
Airport officials tell us private jets generally don't have to give advanced notice of their arrival. Because of the high traffic during Masters Week, jets must schedule landing windows, but aren't required to tell who is actually on that plane.