Tiger Woods Tees Off at Masters With Drive Into Fairway

"I think as [the reporters] are seeing Tiger warm up a little bit to them, they in kind are slowly and procedurally doing the same. I think there is an onus on Woods if he is going to be more direct, less out of the bubble and more in touch with reality that is going on here in the sport," Tirico said. "And I think people in time will give him that back and over time forgive him somewhat for happened off of the golf course."

But clearly Woods still has a lot of work to do. The Masters chairman Billy Payne had harsh words for the golfer the day before he returned to the sport.

"Our hero did not live up to the expectations of the role model we sought for our children. Certainly his future will never again be measured only by his performance against par, but measured by the sincerity of his efforts to change," Payne said yesterday.

Tirico said he applauded Payne for speaking out.

"Sports executives a lot of the time try to wash it over and make it go away. And Mr. Payne made one of the clearest and strongest statements I've heard on this topic by an executive in sports in a long time," Tirico said.

The Associated Press and ABC News' Daniel Arnall contributed to this report.

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