News 12 at 6 o'clock, April 6, 2010
AUGUSTA---As the golfers are testing the course on this second day of practice rounds, the world's most famous golfer is testing a new version of himself. Tiger Woods is promising to change his ways, both on and off the golf course.
This so-called new Tiger is one who says he will pay more attention to the fans. He says he feels like he's gotten away from that in years past, so he's using this Masters Tournament to get back to what he says is important.
This isn't the Tiger we're used to seeing: the Tiger who signs autographs, the Tiger who throws balls to kids, the Tiger who high-fives fans. But this is exactly the Tiger who's shown up at the Augusta National this year, and everyone is noticing.
"He walked up, and I'm like, 'Wow this is pretty cool. I'm right in front of Tiger Woods'," said Jacob Kliethermes, here with his dad all the way from Jefferson City, Missouri. The nine-year-old is really into golf, so he's heard all about Tiger's scandal.
"He has," said Jacob's father Keith, "and he's heard a lot of opinions and stuff, and I think he's old enough, and he's formed his own opinion, and he's here to see some golf."
Others aren't as impressed with the new and improved Tiger, like Laura Horn from Philadelphia, Mississippi.
"Everybody's kind of got hurt feelings," she said. "But we do wish him the best. We just wish him well."
Laura's here with her kids, and while she notices Tiger's change, she admits she never really saw him as a role model for her little ones.
"The way he acted on the course sometimes before wasn't all that impressive to me anyway," she said.
But some patrons think Tiger shouldn't have to be impressive in anything other than his golf game. To them, being more personable shouldn't matter at all.
"Actually, I think he just needs to play his game, and he'll do just fine," said a patron named Graham.
As for Jacob, he's just taking it all in. To this young golf fan, it doesn't matter if it's the old Tiger or the new one.
Some wonder whether Tiger's sincere or not. Really, only time will tell--and you can bet that this week, everyone is watching.
Everyone will especially be watching tomorrow for the Par 3 Contest. Tiger has never really participated in the for-fun Wednesday pre-tournament. He could make the decision to enter it day-of, so we'll see if he wants to show an even more playful side of himself.