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Tiger Woods has found an unlikely ally in his bid to win back his fans – and his form – in the wake of the sex scandals that wrecked his clean-cut image during a miserable year that culminated last week with the loss of his status as the world’s No. 1-ranked golfer.
At an official dinner on the eve of the Australian Masters in Melbourne, Woods was partnered at a question-and-answer session by none other than Shane Warne, another great sportsman whose after-hours behaviour has been the subject of some pretty lurid tabloid headlines.
While the reception for Woods was at first awkward, Warne’s presence soon helped to ease the atmosphere. According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, the evening’s compere, Mark Nicholas, welcomed the pair with the loaded words, “promising relationship!” to which Warne responded with a dead-pan: “'I reckon we've got a little bit in common ... I love golf.''
Woods couldn’t help but laugh at that, a reaction that was more spontaneous than any of the unconvincing attempts at contrition he has turned to in previous public appearances, and set the tone for one of his more comfortable grillings of the recent past. It just goes to show, even the greats need an experienced hand to guide them through the tough times.
Andrew Miller is the former UK editor of ESPNcricinfo and now editor of The Cricketer magazineFeeds: Andrew Miller
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