Fans shout, "Welcome back, Tiger!" as he plays a practice round before his first press conference

By Steve Helling
April 05, 2010 11:00 AM
Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty

Tiger Woods will face dozens of reporters Monday in his first press conference since his Nov. 27 car accident ignited a devastating sex scandal.

A quiet and respectful crowd of about 500 watched Woods tee off for a practice round with Fred Couples. An occasional shout of “Welcome back, Tiger!” came from the gallery. Woods acknowledge the fans with a nod and a smile, the Associated Press reports.

Officials at Augusta National, the Georgia golf course where Woods will play the Masters later this week, tell PEOPLE that they received “hundreds” of press requests, but are allowing only about 75 members of the media to attend.

Woods, 34, has mostly remained silent since the revelations that he had multiple affairs. He made a public apology on Feb. 19 in front of his family, friends and hand-picked members of the media. In March, he gave two five-minute TV interviews in the clubhouse of his home golf course of Isleworth to reporters of his own choosing.

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But those public appearances were under tightly controlled circumstances. This press conference will not be held on Woods’s turf but in a press room at Augusta National. And Woods had no part in picking the reporters who may attend. No questions are off-limits.

Despite his nerves, Woods’s friends say that the golfer is looking forward to getting the press conference behind him and returning to golf. “It has been the most difficult time of his life,” says a source close to Woods. “He s been fighting for his marriage, his career, everything.”

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