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Tiger Woods 40 Biggest Moments: Return from Scandal at the 2010 Masters

December 11, 2015

Over 40 days, GOLF.com is rolling out Tiger Woods’ 40 biggest moments. Our ranking started on Nov. 21 and will culminate on Dec. 30, which is Tiger’s 40th birthday. That’s 40 Tiger moments. In 40 days. Ranked. Click here to learn more about our list.

Tiger’s 40 Biggest Moments: No. 20 – Return from Scandal at the 2010 Masters

Four months after he’d hit a hydrant, bending a fender and setting off a scandal that sent his world into a tailspin, Tiger announced that he’d soon be returning from self-imposed exile.

And what better pathway back than Magnolia Lane?

“The Masters is where I won my first major, and I view this tournament with great respect,” Woods said in a prepared statement. “After a long and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I’m ready to start my season at Augusta.”

Left unmentioned by Woods—but widely remarked upon by the press—was that Augusta also offered a safe haven, a place apart, hushed and private, cocooned from the usual tabloid frenzy

Not that his peccadilloes would go forgotten.

Reminders even came from inside the gates.

In a pre-tournament address, Augusta chairman Billy Payne tut-tutted that Tiger had fallen short in his duties as a role model and had “disappointed all of us, and more importantly, our kids and our grandkids.”

In the court of public opinion, it appeared, Woods couldn’t win.

He didn’t win the tournament, either, but he acquitted himself well, piecing together rounds of 68, 70, 70 and 69 to tie for fourth with K.J. Choi.

For Woods, of course, anything short of victory was never fully satisfying, and one suspects it galled him to see the green jacket go to his chief rival, Phil Mickelson.

The temptation for some was to package the results as a morality play (the family man over the philanderer), but not everyone bought into that angle. As the Telegraph of London sarcastically noted in a story critical of what it depicted as the holier-than-thou treatment that Tiger had received, “The US Masters got the champion it wanted. Phil Mickelson, devoted husband, loving father and antidote to that rampant individualist Tiger Woods.”

Check back on GOLF.com every day until Tiger’s birthday on Dec. 30 for a new moment in our TIGER@40 countdown.

No. 21: Winning Third Straight U.S. Amateur Title

No. 22: The Apology Press Conference

No. 23: Shot from Fairway Bunker at 2000 Canadian Open

No. 24: Passes Nicklaus in Career PGA Tour Wins

No. 25: Signs First Deal With Nike

No. 26: Knee Surgery After 2008 U.S. Open

No. 27: Winning Back-to-Back Masters

No. 28: Launching the Tiger Woods Foundation

No. 29: Becoming a Father for the First Time

No. 30: Ugly Breakup With Steve Williams

No. 31: First U.S. Amateur Win at TPC Sawgrass

No. 32: Wire-to-Wire British Open Win at St. Andrews in 2005

No. 33: Relationship With Lindsey Vonn

No. 34: Third Straight U.S. Junior Am Title

No. 35: A Shot in the Dark at Firestone

No. 36: Television Debut at Age 2

No. 37: Breakup with Hank Haney After Six Years

No. 38: Disastrous 2004 Ryder Cup Pairing with Phil Mickelson

No. 39: Beats Stephen Ames 9&8 in 2006 Cadillac Match Play

No. 40: Wins 2008 Arnold Palmer Invitational with Dramatic Putt