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Tiger Woods scandal 'will be a career blip because golf needs him', experts say

The scandal surrounding disgraced golfer Tiger Woods and his alleged infidelities will be little more than a career blip because "golf needs him", experts say.

Woods, who has been accused of a string of infidelities, is expected to apologise and announce his comeback.

The father-of-two has been in hiding since a mystery car crash in November which sparked a series of lurid headlines about his private life.

Woods, who took a personal hammering as details of his alleged liaisons emerged, is due to issue a public apology in Florida tomorrow in a bid to rebuild his reputation.

He was out running near his Orlando home on Wednesday, the first time he has been seen in public this year.

Publicist Max Clifford said the Tiger brand would soon be back on track and insisted the player's antics off the golf course would have no long-term impact on his illustrious career.

''Golf needs him far more than he needs golf," he said.

"He has more money than he knows what to do with, even if he does have an expensive divorce.

"Tournament attendances are down, viewing numbers are down. The golf world desperately needs Tiger Woods back."

He added: "As long as he continues to play golf the way he has in the last decade he will be the most successful golfer on the planet. The events of his life off the golf course will in no way diminish his appeal, his popularity or his prowess on the course.

''Providing he still delivers it won't affect him one little bit. When you're worth hundreds of millions of pounds, it doesn't make a difference. 'I think it (the apology) is a step in the right direction. It will soften things slightly."

Woods, a 14-time major winner, said in December he would be taking an indefinite break from the game following the storm of bad publicity.

Several of his big-name sponsors cut their ties or distanced themselves from the sportsman in the wake of the allegations, including business services giant Accenture and Gillette.

Tom Cannon, Professor of Strategic Development at the University of Liverpool, said Woods' fall from grace would cause him little financial damage.

''I don't think it will have a massive effect,'' he said.

''I think he will still become the first billion dollar sportsman.

''There will be a blip but presuming he goes back to his sport and continues to succeed and doesn't get involved in this type of thing again, I think it will only be a blip.''

Professor Cannon, who has studied the business, economics and finance of sport for more than a decade, said the sports personality would be forgiven for his misadventures.

''The history with these kinds of things is that they have surprisingly short-term consequences,'' he said.

Woods was left needing hospital treatment after he crashed his car just outside his Florida mansion in the early hours of November 27.

This prompted a storm of speculation over the circumstances leading up to the accident which reportedly followed a confrontation with his wife, Swedish ex-model Elin Nordegren.

The sports star was later reported to have attended a sex addiction clinic after he admitted to ''transgressions''.

He is expected to show further contrition when he speaks publicly on Friday.

A statement from his manager, Mark Steinberg, released late on Thursday said: ''Tiger Woods will be speaking to a small group of friends, colleagues and close associates at the TPC Sawgrass clubhouse in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

''Tiger plans to discuss his past and his future and he intends to apologise for his behaviour.''

He is also expected to detail his golfing comeback.

Golf experts believe the likeliest date for his competitive return is the Tavistock Cup in Florida on March 22-23.

© Telegraph.co.uk