“TIGER”: What’s that Spell?

Trade in the running shorts for a pleated skirt, swap the magazine for a megaphone, out with the beach chair, in with the human pyramid.









Harbor Island Park in Mamaroneck was full of people on Tuesday who said they’d be cheering for Tiger Woods in his return to golf at the Masters on Thursday, despite the revelations that he has repeatedly cheated on his wife, Elin Nordegren.


So give us a T!


"T" is for temptation, which many people believe is off the charts for anyone who has achieved Woods’ level of fame.


Yanira Barrenechea, a 27-year-old sports fan from New Rochelle, pointed out that Woods is frequently on the road, always in the spotlight and usually without his wife, which certainly makes the temptation meter rise.


Add to that his good looks, his thick wallet and his high profile, and it’s no wonder women are knocking on his door (or texting on his phone).


While not condoning his affairs and expressing sympathy for Nordegren, Barrenechea said she’d still be cheering for Woods this week in the year’s first major. Television coverage begins Thursday at 4 on ESPN, and Woods is scheduled to tee off at 1:42 with Matt Kuchar and K.J. Choi.


"I’m sure he’s gonna come out and do crazy," Barrenechea said. "Crazy good."


Megan Mukerji, a 46-year-old mother from White Plains who was visiting the Harbor Island playground, said the scandal will have no impact on whether or not she watches the tournament at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia, but she did extend some understanding toward Woods.


"Athletes that are so popular, they can get kind of caught up in that," she said. "There’s lots of temptation."


Give us an I!


"I" is for intrusion, because several people said they feel like the reporting of Woods’ affairs was an invasion of his personal privacy.


Michele Foristel, a 53-year-old from Harrison who is a regular at Rye Golf Club, was discussing the Woods situation with her friend Tina Piscitello at the Harbor Island beach after their round in Rye.


"I really don’t care," said Foristel, who added that she and her three sons would be cheering for Woods this week. "It’s not my business. I knew him as a golfer, not as a person." 


Amy Ross, a 41-year-old from Larchmont, agrees


Ross, who said she’ll follow the tournament in the news but doesn’t plan to watch the coverage on ESPN or CBS, believes Woods’ personal life should be kept private.


"I felt badly for him in some ways," she said. "The exposure, the humiliation, the pressure to be perfect his whole life.


"I hope he plays beautifully, and it seems like he can handle enormous amounts of pressure."


Give us a G!


"G" is for greatness, which in Woods’ case seems impossible to ignore. With 14 major titles already in his career, including four at the Masters, several people pointed out that they cheer for Woods because he’s a great golfer, not because he’s a great person.


"I’m really just curious to see how he does," the 42-year-old Piscitello said. "It will definitely be impressive if he can do exceptionally well."


"I certainly don’t want him to fail," Foristel said. "He’s a fabulous golfer. … I think he’ll either bomb or be amazing."


Give us an E!


"E" is for everybody, as in everybody has flaws. Woods, many believe, was a victim of his own fame.


Betty Autorino, a 78-year-old from Larchmont, is a Phil Mickelson fan who still likes to play golf a little bit in the summertime. She says she won’t hold a grudge against Woods.


"I still like him," she said. "Everybody makes mistakes."


Kevin Richardson, a 30-year-old from New Rochelle, seconds the sentiment.


"I think it was blown out of proportion," he said. "A lot of people cheat, even though it’s wrong."


Barrenechea makes three.


"In life, you never really know what goes on behind doors," she said. "People do it all the time. Guys cheat all the time. Women cheat all the time, too."


Give us an R!


"R" is for redemption, which some hope Woods achieves this week.


Richardson said he plans to watch a little bit of the tournament — which experts are predicting could be the most-watched, highest-rated tournament ever — and that he, too, will be cheering for Woods.


"I always like to see someone get back up," Richardson said.


"He made a lot of mistakes," Barrenechea said. "But maybe this will help him change, help him focus on life, his wife and his kids."


So what does that spell? TIGER!


At Harbor Island Park on Tuesday, the message was loud and clear.

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