Citing a New York Post story, it appears that Tiger Woods has called upon Ari Fleischer, the former presidential aide for George W. Bush, to help him in his preperation for a return to the PGA Tour, beginning with the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill, March 25-28 in Orlando, Fla.
According to the report, golf legend Palmer, the tournament’s namesake, reportedly told people close to him that Woods is planning to play in the tournament.
One source told The Post, “I would be shocked if he didn’t play the Arnold Palmer.”
Woods embattled few months began with his early morning crash of an SUV outside his home in Florida the day after Thanksgiving. Since then, numerous allegations of infidelity, which Woods confirmed, have haunted the superstar golfer.
In Woods’ public apologyon Feb. 19, he said he didn’t rule out a return to the PGA Tour this year, but indicated he didn’t know when that return would be.
Last week, fellow PGA Tour pro Charles Howell III spent an hour with Woods on the practice range and said, “Honestly, he looked as good as he ever has. Seriously, he seemed like he was hitting it the same as he ever did.”
Woods is a six-time champion at Bay Hill, including a win in 2009 in dramatic comeback fashion over Sean O’Hair.
Fleischer formed Ari Fleischer Sports Communication in 2008. The firm specializes in crisis management and control for high-profile athletes. He consulted with Mark McGwire in 2005 before the disgraced slugger was to appear before Congress about steroid use in baseball. Fleischer also advised Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, following the acrimonious departure of Favre from the Green Bay Packers, where he had spen his entire career, before joining the New York Jets in 2008.