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Woods finally set to appear in public

Tiger Woods practices golf outside his home Thursday in Windermere, Fla. Woods plans to make a statement today.
Tiger Woods practices golf outside his home Thursday in Windermere, Fla. Woods plans to make a statement today.
Sam Greenwood, AP

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Tiger Woods' first public appearance in three months already is shaping up as a national event.

Tight security restricted access on the road that leads to the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse, where Woods is to speak at 11 a.m. EST Friday for the first time since his Nov. 27 accident that set off sordid revelations of infidelity.

Networks reworked their programming and, by late Thursday afternoon, seven satellite trucks had already parked outside the Sawgrass Marriott. The parking lot last saw this kind of activity five years ago — for media day at the Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.

All because Woods — surely one of the world's most-recognized athletes — is about to re-emerge and say something in person regarding his future and his past.

The public hasn't had a clean look at Woods' face since photos Wednesday of him jogging in his neighborhood outside Orlando.

Far more compelling will be the sound of his voice. Woods has not been heard in the 78 days since a magazine released a voicemail he allegedly left one of the women to whom he has been romantically linked, warning that Woods' wife might be calling.

Instead of going on "Oprah" or another national television show to break the ice, Woods essentially will be speaking to the lone camera allowed in the room. It will be televised via satellite.

Three networks — ABC, CBS and NBC — will carry the statement live. ESPN will have it live on all its platforms, including Internet streaming, radio and mobile. It also will be piped over YouTube, the Web's most popular video channel. Golf Channel will start coverage at 10:30 a.m. — call it a 30-minute pregame show.

Almost as intriguing is which "friends, colleagues and close associates" will be in the Sunset Room on the second floor of the Mediterranean-style clubhouse at the TPC Sawgrass.

MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP: At Marana, Ariz., the remaining top four seeds went down, and so did the defending champion.

The often-unpredictable Match Play Championship more than lived up to its reputation in a topsy-turvy second round at Dove Mountain on Thursday. An event already minus Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson sent several of the world's best to an early exit.

Lee Westwood, Jim Furyk, Martin Kaymer and Rory McIlroy — seeded second through fifth — were among the losers. Defending champion Geoff Ogilvy was beaten by Camilo Villegas, 2 and 1. Top-seeded Steve Stricker lost Wednesday in the first round.

The highest remaining seed is England's Paul Casey at No. 6. Casey, the runner-up a year ago who won the World Match Play Championship in England in 2006, swiftly dispatched Sandy's Mike Weir, 5 and 4.

HONDA PTT LPGA THAILAND: At Pattaya, Thailand, Norway's Suzann Pettersen made a tap-in eagle on the par-5 18th for a 6-under 66 and a share of the first-round lead with South Korea's M.J. Hur in the season-opening Honda PTT LPGA Thailand. Pettersen played the final four holes in 4 under, birdieing 15 and 17 before capping her bogey-free round with the eagle on 18, while Hur had seven birdies and a bogey in hot conditions on the Siam Country Club's Old Course.

MAYAKOBA GOLF CLASSIC: At Playa del Carmen, Mexico, Joe Durant birdied five of the final eight holes for a 7-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the PGA Tour's Mayakoba Golf Classic. The 45-year-old Durant, a four-time tour winner, played the front nine in 2 under, then birdied Nos. 11-13 and 16-17 for a back-nine 30 on the Mayakoba Resort's Greg Norman-designed El Camaleon course.

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