JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Tiger Woods has not been heard in the 78 days since a magazine released a voice mail that he allegedly left one of the women to whom he has been romantically linked, pleading with her to remove his number from her cell phone.
That changes at 11 a.m. EST Friday when Woods makes his first public appearance since crashing his car into a tree outside his Florida home Nov. 27, an incident that led to revelations of infidelity.
His tightly controlled talk will not include three designated members of the Golf Writers Association of America. That group's board of directors voted not to participate.
"I cannot stress how strongly our board felt that this should be open to all media and also for the opportunity to question Woods," said Vartan Kupelian, president of the 950-member group.
"The position, simply put, is all or none. This is a major story of international scope. To limit the ability of journalists to attend, listen, see and question Woods goes against the grain of everything we believe."
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who made the TPC at Sawgrass clubhouse available for this talk and is offering logistical help, has said he would attend. The Associated Press, Reuters, Bloomberg News were invited by Woods' agents, along with three pool reporters designated by the GWAA. No questions were to be allowed.
Security was tight by Thursday afternoon, with the main road to the clubhouse blocked off. Media were headquartered in a hotel a mile away, where seven satellite trucks were parked. Reporters will watch the Woods event on television.
A British bookmaker has set odds at 4-to-7 that Woods wife, Elin, will be with him. William Hill didn't stop there, however. It offers 8-to-1 odds that Woods will announce he is getting a divorce, 12-to-1 odds that his wife is pregnant and 100-to-1 odds that he is retiring.
Woods will be speaking to the lone camera allowed in the room. It will be widely televised live via satellite. ABC, CBS and NBC will carry the statement live. ESPN will have it live on all its platforms, including Internet streaming, radio and mobile. The Golf Channel will start coverage at 10:30 a.m.