In November 2009, after a shady episode of infidelities ended with the minor car crash heard 'round the world, golf's perennial hero experienced his tragic fall from grace. In the PGA, anarchy ensued.
There have been three calendar seasons since Tiger Woods' last major in the 2008 US Open. In those seasons, 12 different golfers have won 12 different majors. With the exceptions of Angel Cabrera (2009 Masters champ) and Phil Mickelson (2010 Masters champ), all of those players were first-time major champions.
The golf world simply isn't the same without some sort of hierarchy. Amidst the amateur glitz and glamour of the 2012 Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, some form of swinging order appeared to be restored.
Four-time major champion and the second best golfer of his generation Phil Mickelson came out on top with easily his best performance (16-under) since finishing 20-under at the Shell Houston Open last April.
Three-time major champion Padraig Harrington finished tied for seventh with an impressive 10-under performance, his first top 10 finish on the tour since 2010.
And of course, the proverbial Tiger in the room was well within club-length striking distance heading into the final round for the second tournament in a row.
So even with perpetual PGA understudies like Charlie Wi and Ricky Barnes (one tour victory between them) clinging near the top of the leader board, the Pebble Beach Pro-Am provided country club nation with a mouth watering taste test for what the Masters might hold in a few months.
Let the countdown begin. Here are four prime lessons we learned in the 2012 season's first Augusta prelude.