Tiger Woods claims he was pleasantly surprised by the way fans treated him in his return to golf -- claiming the support at the Masters actually "helped" him on the course.
Tiger just posted the message on his blog, in which he says, "I honestly didn't know what to expect from the fans, but they were absolutely incredible from Monday through Sunday.
He added, "It was unreal. They definitely helped me mentally to be more comfortable out there. I was hoping for the best. To get that type of warmth is something I did not expect and will never forget."
Check out the entire unedited blog entry after the jump.
"I have to say it felt great to return to competition at the Masters Tournament. To actually contend in a major on the back nine Sunday and tie for fourth with very little preparation, with all that has transpired in my life, was pretty cool.
I honestly didn't know what to expect from the fans, but they were absolutely incredible from Monday through Sunday. It was unreal. They definitely helped me mentally to be more comfortable out there. I was hoping for the best. To get that type of warmth is something I did not expect and will never forget.
It also felt great to be in the hunt again, but unfortunately, I didn't have my game. I knew I needed to make a run, but I just didn't have one in me. I had a terrible warm-up session Sunday, and it carried over to the first tee.
As far as competing, it was just like riding a bike again. Once the tournament came, everything felt normal, and I fell into my old rhythm and routine. I didn't even think about it; it just happened. My body knew what to do.
I tried and wanted to interact with as many fans as I could. One little girl gave me a letter on the third tee, which was awfully sweet. I knew a few people in the gallery, including my mom, which was nice.
It was also great to see all the guys. They had been asked a lot of questions in my absence and handled the distractions very well. I appreciate their support, but it felt good to try and beat them again.
I received some criticism for bad language, which I apologized for immediately after Saturday's round. It's tough when you're in a competitive environment and in the flow of a tournament. I'm not perfect. All I can say is I'm trying to do everything I can without losing my fire and competitive spirit.
Although it was my first tournament using all V-grooves, it was a seamless transition. I played V-grooves in all my irons except my sand wedges at The Presidents Cup and for the remainder of the year, so it was a pretty easy change. I didn't have much trouble adjusting to the sand wedges because I have the softest ball on the PGA Tour.
Before I stop talking about the Masters, I want to congratulate Phil Mickelson on the win and for all it means to him, Amy and the entire Mickelson family. They have really gone through a lot this year, and I wish them good health from now on.
I hear Lorena Ochoa is retiring from professional golf. Although we never played together, I met her several times, and she is a wonderful person and a great champion. The game of golf is definitely going to miss her. I hope she decides to stay involved in one form or another.
I also heard that the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach this year will be televised in prime time on the weekend. I think the last time NBC did it was at Torrey Pines in 2008, and the ratings were pretty good. The only time we can be on prime time is when the tournament is held on the West Coast, so we might as well take advantage of it. I think it's great for golf.
Earlier this week, I committed to THE PLAYERS Championship and the AT&T National. Obviously, that's earlier than usual. The PGA Tour asked me to commit earlier if I could to help the tournaments with their planning and security. I completely understand and know they're trying to help out me and the other players. Whenever possible, I will continue to do this going forward.
Next week, I return to competition at the Quail Hollow Championship in North Carolina. Quail Hollow Club is one of my favorite courses on tour. It's traditional, right in front of you, difficult, and you have to shape shots both ways. I managed to win there in 2007 and look forward to going back.
I took a little time off after the Masters to go scuba diving and spend time with my family. But I did enjoy a fun round of golf with my friend John Cook at Isleworth Country Club. I double-eagled the par-5 17th hole -- the third of my life -- with a 5-wood and shot 63, so my game is improving.
Finally, special thanks to all my fans for their well wishes and support. It means more than you know.
Talk to you again soon."