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Yes, I hate to say “I told you so,” but don’t lie and tell me that you wouldn’t say the same thing.  Tiger Woods is set to return to play in the Masters in April, right in line with my prediction a couple of months ago.  But I must confess that I miscalculated the fact that I expected Woods to return with one tune-up event before the big stage, but who’s worried about details anyway?

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Just kidding.  I hope I’m not half as arrogant as I sounded in that first paragraph, but I can say that I am incredibly proud of the fact that Tiger is getting back on his horse and riding it to the end.  T’he scandal involving Tiger’s sex life has really taken its toll and he has found himself in places he probably never expected to be.   But that’s what makes life interesting, when you hit rock bottom and come back to the top.  Before last year, Tiger’s life story would have been a bore.

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The reason I fully expected Tiger to come back for the Masters is simple:  He can’t afford to miss any major tournaments this season.  Nearly every major is being played on a course that Tiger has torched in the past, meaning that he has an amazing opportunity to gain ground on Jack Nicklaus’ “untouchable” record of 18 major championships.  Tiger has 14, and it’s not inconceivable that he could be sitting on 17 by the end of this season.  Even 18 by the end of the year is not out of the question for a man who has won four majors in a row.  This is Tiger’s year and he knows it.

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Secondly, Tiger needs to start playing golf again so that people can forget that they once thought he was a sex addict.  The only thing worse than a sex addict who plays golf is a sex addict who’s not known for anything other than having sex.  Tiger needs to reshape his image, get his endorsements back and re-establish himself as one of the greatest athletes in the history of the world.

Third, as a black man, I am proud to see Tiger slaughter the field in a sport that once thought we were not good enough to win.  Tiger being the only black man in a 150-player field is stunning, and the fact that he dominates the rest of the world is a dream come true.  I don’t care if Tiger identifies himself as a black male or not; the truth is that when he wins, he represents the best of us.

Fourth, Tiger learned the OJ Simpson lesson on race this year.  He found out that while America might love you in spite of your blackness, you are never too far up to fall back into the deep hole of racial stereotypes.   Tiger was treated as badly as Michael Vick by the American public, and even compared to that famous football player who allegedly murdered his wife.  Welcome to the world of black men Tiger, where many of us are typecast as animals.

I would say good luck to Tiger Woods, but he doesn’t need it.  He will absolutely murder his opponents.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is the founder of the Your Black World Coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

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