Instead of fielding media queries before next week's Wells Fargo Championship -- as has been his custom before nearly every tournament he plays -- Tiger Woods will instead answer questions from fans.
Woods, who will play his first tournament since the Masters at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, is expected to post a video on his website on Monday in which he will answer selected fan questions submitted through Facebook and Twitter. He will not do a pre-tournament interview session with media members, according to his agent Mark Steinberg.
"We've been thinking about this for a couple of months now," Steinberg said Friday night. "We wanted to have a little bit more direct interaction with fans, and they've been very good to him over the years. We're probably a little bit behind with social media and this is a way to do that."
Woods does more media interviews at tournament sites than any other player. He typically does a pre-tournament session and almost always is available for questions after every round.
Steinberg said that post-round access would not change, and he stressed that this pre-tournament arrangement would only occur "a handful of times" during the year. Woods likely would continue to do interviews before major championships, events where he is the defending champion and selected tournaments, possibly including the Players Championship in two weeks.
"It's just a chance to have him interact more with fans," Steinberg said.
Steinberg also said this was not in response to any negative media reaction stemming from the Masters, where Woods was a disappointing 40th and was criticized for kicking a club in frustration during the second round.
"Absolutely not," Steinberg said. "This will just be a few tournaments a year."
Woods returns next week after his longest break from golf since the start of the season in January. In addition to his victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational -- the 72nd of his PGA Tour career -- he tied for second at the Honda Classic and was third at the Abu Dhabi Championship. He had a disappointing finish at Pebble Beach, where he tied for 15th, lost in the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play and withdrew during the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Invitational because of a strained Achilles.
His tie for 40th at the Masters -- his worst at the tournament as a pro -- was his poorest performance since missing the cut at the PGA Championship last August. Afterward, Woods said on his website that he would "take some time off and not look at the clubs for awhile and then get back after it."
In his last appearance at Quail Hollow in 2010, Woods missed the cut. He won the tournament in 2007.