Tiger Woods must answer critics before making comeback: Ogilvy

By Bernie McGuire

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - World number one Tiger Woods should come out and answer his critics in public before making his golfing return, Australian Geoff Ogilvy said on Wednesday.

Woods, who is taking an indefinite break from golf, has been in hiding since admitting last month he had cheated on his wife.

"Tiger should actually come out in public before, and not at a golf tournament," Ogilvy told reporters on the eve of the Abu Dhabi Championship.

"One, out of respect for all the other golfers, and two, to diffuse the circus part of it before he actually gets to a golf tournament. I don't believe a lot of tournaments want all the tabloid media floating around.

"It would be nice if he came out away from a golf tournament. When he does come back to golf it would still be a bit crazy but that tabloid edge might be gone," added the world number nine.

However, Ogilvy said Woods may opt to choose the media-controlled atmosphere of the U.S. Masters in April for his comeback.

CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT

"The least amount of circus he could face would be if he went to Augusta first as that would be the most controlled environment he could be in," said the Australian.

"But then if he truly wants to win at Augusta he's going to want to play before then. Whenever he returns it's going to be a big day.

"The first press conference he does is going to be a crazy one. A lot of people who have been afraid to ask questions for 10 or 12 years won't be quite as hesitant to ask questions as they used to be and Tiger is going to have to answer questions."

Former U.S. Open champion Ogilvy said the other competitors would probably want to avoid playing alongside Woods on his return because of the massive amount of attention it would create.

"At a golf tournament it's going to be crazy whatever happens and there's going to be a lot of stuff going on inside the ropes when he comes back," he said.

"It would probably not be ideal to have to play with him."

"Winning early in a new season ... is pretty high on your priority list," he said. "It's a big boost."

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)