Feb. 18, 2010 -- Sports fans and gossipmongers have been waiting for three months to hear from Tiger Woods, but his planned five-minute statement will be judged as much more than a simple step back into the spotlight, experts say.
"No matter what he says or how thorough he tries to be ... people are going to watch him and judge him based on contrition and whether they think he's changed," ESPN golf expert Tom Rinaldi told "Good Morning America" today.
Woods said Wednesday he will speak Friday at 11 a.m. from the Professional Golfers Association's headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
The timing of the statement has raised eyebrows, coming right in the middle of the Match Play Championship sponsored by Accenture, the first company to publicly drop him as a spokesman. Deadlines for upcoming tournaments also loom.
Fellow golfer Ernie Els told Golfweek magazine after Woods' announcement that his statement was "selfish."
"I feel sorry for the sponsor. Mondays are a good day to make statements, not Friday," he told the magazine. "This takes a lot away from the golf tournament."
USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan told "Good Morning America" today that Els' grumblings were likely shared by other golfers.
"It is not a nice moment," she said. "It is not a nice thing to do, to take the field of spotlight away from his peers."
But the planned statement shows that Woods is trying to take control of a situation that may have irreparably harmed his professional career and his personal life.
"This is a guy who has made his fame by mastering a given moment," Rinaldi said. "This moment will be the most challenging he's faced in his entire life."
Los Angeles public relations expert Howard Bragman told "Good Morning America" today that Woods' best chance for redemption is on the golf course.
"What's really going to determine his future is how well he plays golf once he goes back out on the course," he said.
Friday's statement is going to be so controlled, it may not make much of a difference, he said.
"He might as well have taped it himself and put it on YouTube," Bragman said. "If I were advising him, I'd say, 'You need to sit down with a credible journalist and really answer these questions.'"
In not taking any questions, as Woods' camp announced Wednesday, he pre-emptively reduced the event to a "dog-and-pony show," Brennan said.
But it will give reporters and a selected group of others the chance to eyeball the golfer up close for the first time in months.
"This is going to be a big deal in terms of how he tries to lay the groundwork for his comeback," she said.
Upcoming Golf Tournaments Could Fuel Tiger Woods' Comeback
If Woods is planning a comeback to the golf scene in the coming weeks or months, it's unclear exactly when he'd make his move.
PGA Tour ratings could certainly benefit from a comeback: Ratings are 50 percent lower when he's not on the green.
The Phoenix Open is next week and March's calendar includes the two-day Tavistock Cup. April brings the Bay Hill Invitational and the Masters.
A recent photo of Woods' jogging in his Florida neighborhood -- sans wedding ring -- was the first public image of Woods since the Thanksgiving car crash started a domino effect of sexual allegations against him.
In a statement Wednesday, Woods' agent Mark Steinberg said the golfer was looking forward to the next step.
"While Tiger feels that what happened is fundamentally a matter between he and his wife, he also recognizes that he has hurt and let down a lot of other people who were close to him," he said. "He also let down his fans. He wants to begin the process of making amends and that's what he's going to discuss," the statement said.
It is unclear whether Woods' wife Elin Nordegren would be by his side.
The lawyer for one of the women with whom Woods is alleged to have had an affair, said she wanted the golfer to apologize to directly to Veronica Siwik-Daniels, better known by her porn star name Joslyn James.
Attorney Gloria Allred said she wants Woods to "apologize to Veronica by name on Friday for all of the anguish and distress that he has put her through and acknowledge that they had a three year romantic and intimate relationship, and that he told her that their relationship would last a lifetime."
Allred said that Siwik-Daniels, star of "Porn Star Brides," gave up a career in the adult film industry at Woods' request.
"Veronica has made tremendous sacrifices for him," Allred said in a statement to ABC News.com. "She gave up the porn business at his request and went into hiding when the scandal broke in order to protect him, but to date he has not contacted her to apologize."
Woods has not been seen in public since November, issuing just two terse statements through his Web site admitting to "transgressions" and is rumored to have spent time in a sex rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi.
In December Woods announced he would take an indefinite leave of absence from golf, bowing out of tournaments as sponsors scrambled to distance themselves from the once squeaky-clean athlete.