After canceling last year’s Tiger Jam fundraiser because of scandals and tabloid trouble, golfer Tigers Woods stepped cautiously back into the Las Vegas spotlight last night. Cautiously because he had to walk onstage at his Mandalay Bay Events Center concert with Keith Urban and John Mayer with Achilles heel and knee injuries.
But also cautiously because of the unknown audience reaction for his Las Vegas return. There were many empty seats at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Tiger was uncomfortable being back onstage and kept his welcome speech to less than 30 seconds.
In fact, Tiger’s return here was so under the radar in terms of a fast in-and-out, he even shot a 60-second TelePrompTer video about his charity and its educational work for underserved youth that played before he hobbled onstage. That’s all fans got to see of him in his shrouded-in-secrecy return to the city where the scandalous stories of his extra-marital affairs first broke.
There was no normal red carpet meet-and-greet with Tiger. Instead, it was a quick photo opportunity with the concert headliners -- no questions. John nowadays is looking like a double for Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean! Thanks to Tom Donoghue for his photo gallery of the red carpet and concert. Thanks also to Las Vegas Sun photographer Justin M. Bowen for his photo gallery.
Keith, John and opening act Tyler Hilton thrilled the fans, who gave them all a standing ovation, particularly when Keith and John joined forces for what seemed like an impromptu jam session. Their guitar work was extraordinary, and their lengthy riffs deservedly won long applause.
John’s comments about “being in the dark side of Vegas” led into his hit “Gravity,” which he made sound more like “depravity” as he acknowledged drug and sexual escapades by visitors. “I prefer to stay well away from that and stay in the light,” he remarked, without it being a half-hearted joke or a serious reminder of conduct.
Tiger attended his Tiger Jam golf clinic but again for a second consecutive visit had to rely on another PGA buddy to do the stroke demonstrations. He departed town today, and there were no reports of wild nights.
It was a cautious, brief and controlled return to the Las Vegas spotlight. Tiger needs to win a major golf tournament this season to really put the amorous adventures behind him, or they will continue to haunt him on and off the greens.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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