Have you bought a Valentine’s Day card, stuffed teddy or any other Cupid-related kitsch for your other half yet? No? Well, you’d better get a shift on instead of sitting there reading this. 

By the time you get to the shop, the entire shelf displaying passionate paraphernalia and carnal curiosities will have been stripped bare amid a merciless, frenzied assault that possessed about as much romantic flair as a shoal of scavenging piranha fish tearing the floating carcass of a Wildebeest down to the bones. To tell you the truth, this correspondent has never been one of life’s great amorous adventurers. I thought, for instance, that the erogenous zones were an area of the ocean that would crop up in an Attenborough documentary about deep sea marine life.

So, let’s move swiftly along shall we? There will, no doubt, be plenty of hearts racing at storied Riviera in Los Angeles this week as all and sundry prepare for yet another Tiger Woods comeback on the PGA Tour in the Genesis Invitational. The clamour to catch a glimpse of the lesser-spotted Tiger, in his first regular PGA Tour event since October 2020, will be broadly equivalent to the desperate elbowing, jockeying, lunging and grabbing for the last of the Valentine’s debris in the Toryglen Asda.

It wasn’t that long ago – the end of November to be precise – that Woods steeled himself for a return in his own Hero World Challenge only to withdraw in the build-up because he was suffering from plantar fasciitis. Don’t worry, I had to look it up too because I thought it sounded more like a fungal disease that affected the Nasturtiums in your garden.

Anyway, this strain in the foot – which is what plantar fasciitis is – proved to be particularly bothersome for Woods. His abrupt exit from that Hero event was another reminder – not that we needed one – of the abundant painful parts in Tiger’s creaking, crumbling body. Hitting the shots is not necessarily the issue. It’s the walking that causes his grief.

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Nevertheless, Woods, with his usual unwavering spirit, is confident that those sair bits won’t rain on this latest parade. We will see. Riviera will provide a rigorous workout for Woods, who used a buggy during the hit-and-giggle of the PNC Championship and the made-for-TV grin-fest of The Match just before Christmas. “I imagine we’ll be carrying him down the hill on one and up it on 18,” quipped PGA Tour campaigner Max Homa of the various injuries that limited Woods to just nine official rounds in 2022, all of which were in major championships and ended with an emotional missed cut at The Open.

Riviera will also provide plenty of symbolism. It was the place where Woods made his PGA Tour debut as a 16-year-old high school student back in 1992. And it was the venue he was travelling from, after being a non-playing host of the Genesis Invitational in 2021, where he had the frightful car crash that almost cost him his life. In a nutshell, this is the course that started Tiger’s PGA Tour career … and very nearly finished it too.

The circus, then, will roar on. There will be many who think that Woods should simply bow to the aches, pains, hirples and hobbles and retire gracefully. Watching what was once a seemingly invincible sportsman wincing and grimacing through his myriad frailties and vulnerabilities can make for a particularly ghoulish spectacle, after all. 

But then, it’s this sheer single-minded, defiant strength of character that set him apart anyway. In many ways, his legend has been enhanced by all the well-documented travails. Let’s face it, until Woods officially calls it a day, golf will continue to revel in his presence.

For all the swashbuckling accomplishments already this season of, say, Rory McIlroy or Jon Rahm, they are dunted into the margins by the hoopla generated by the will he, won’t he Tiger titillation. In a sense, it’s golf’s blessing and its curse. The prospect of an appearance by Woods brings exposure like nothing else. But it also overshadows everything else.

Of course, us lot who cover this game for a living don’t help matters, do we? Tiger’s various re-emergences tend to get rammed down your throats with such overwhelming force, you may as well lie back on a gurney, open your mouth as wide as it will go and allow the entire golf media industry to stampede excitedly down your thrapple. What a palaver.

This week’s Genesis Invitational is another of the PGA Tour’s $20 million bonanzas; an elevated event that is part of the money-soaked measures deployed in the counter-offensive against LIV Golf. The name of Woods on the tee-sheet, of course, is one thing that LIV and all its Saudi millions couldn’t buy and it gives this latest tour showpiece, well, extra elevation.

As for expectation surrounding Woods? No doubt, there will be the usual unhinged predictions from giddy observers despite the fact that his fragile frame, which could go boing, ping or crack at any minute, means any predictions tend to be a fool’s errand. One thing you can guarantee, though, is another Tiger Woods love-in. Now, make haste. You’ve still got time to salvage something from that Valentine’s aisle at the shop. Unless I beat you to it.