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Just Imagine

Golf fans jostle for a glimpse of Tiger's return

  • Story Highlights
  • Fans jostle for a view of their hero on Tiger's return to competitive golf
  • Woods has been out of the game for eight months after a knee injury
  • Snell: "The Woods 'wow factor' is still very much alive and kicking"
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By Patrick Snell
CNN sports anchor and correspondent
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MARANA, Arizona (CNN) -- I've been privileged in the past to witness Tiger Woods out on a golf course. And I can tell you, it's a painful, frustrating process.

Golf fans flocked to Arizona to see Tiger make his long-awaited return to the tee.

Golf fans flocked to Arizona to see Tiger make his long-awaited return to the tee.

Not because the golf he produces isn't spectacular and at times utterly dazzling but it's the sheer volume of people he attracts that help convince me each and every time golf has to be one of the worst "out on the course" spectator sports going. That's just my opinion though.

Try telling that to the legions who got themselves to Arizona this week once they heard the world's top player was making his return to the game after more than eight months.

Woods' first competitive slice of action in the best part of a year wasn't due to get under way until around lunchtime here though judging by the fans already out on the course you'd have thought his tee-time was more like 7am. Even those jostling for position to catch a glimpse of him on the range or putting green were taking no chances and ensuring they arrived in plenty of time.

Remember all of this was before he even teed off!

The scene on that first hole was as expected bustling to say the least. The small gantries were packed anyway due to the whole array of talent on show through this week, but it got even more frenzied when the Woods-Jones match- up was announced.

Mayhem to say the least! Those seated in the stands were the lucky ones, it was the unfortunate spectators trying to stand and strain every sinew to catch a glance of that first shot from the world number one I felt for.

Even us media suffered! With seconds to go before the American struck his drive, one television camera crew, which really should have known better, blatantly blocked us from getting that prized shot. Only quick last-gasp thinking from our cameraman John saved the day.

In case you were wondering that Woods drive was just majestic and he would go on to win the first two holes in fine style.

When he strode off down the first fairway, there was a stampede with those looking to brave the soaring temperatures here in Arizona and follow him every step of the way. The Woods 'wow factor' is still very much alive and kicking. The question is will the so-called bionic knee hold up in the weeks and months to come?

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