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Can Golf Survive without Tiger Woods?

Entertainment Tonight, Monday, December 14, 2009, 1:30pm (PST)

How will Tiger Woods' leave of absence impact the game of golf? Can he rebound from the swirling controversy surrounding him? The Golf Channel's Steve Sands weighs in.

"It's hard to tell right now, but obviously Tiger Woods not being in the game for any amount of time is not a great thing for the game of golf, but the game is bigger than an individual, so we'll just have to wait and see how it all plays out," Sands tells ET. "In the short term, the really big hit will be ticket sales of the events that he normally plays and television ratings at the tournaments that he normally plays."

"If his indefinite leave of absence goes beyond 2010, then you might see companies not being involved in the PGA tour that are involved in the game of golf right now," he adds.

In addition to the game of golf possibly being caught in the sand trap, Tiger is taking a financial hit in terms of endorsements. He reportedly rakes in $110 million a year from his endorsements, and in addition to companies like Accenture and Gillette distancing themselves from Tiger, more companies could cut him off -- but Sands says Tiger could rebound entirely.

"Like Kobe Bryant, Tiger can get the public back on his side if he plays golf at the same level he did before all this happened."

So when can we see Tiger back on the green? The Masters Tournament, one of golf's major championships, begins in April, and Sands says, "I would have a hard time believing he would miss the Masters -- that's four months from now."

Watch ET for more on the Tiger Woods controversy.

Related stories: Gloria Allred Speaks Out for Tiger's Alleged Mistress  

 Tiger Woods Apologizes for His 'Infidelity,' Steps Away From Golf 
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