As Tiger Woods continued his nine-month healing period to heal his surgically repaired knee, and a stress fracture, many felt that this was golf's time to be great to watch. No Tiger Woods, the man who has been dominating the sport for several years, means everyone has a chance.
But now that he is back, everyone must realize that the sport truly needs Woods. He creates suspense, makes it fun to watch, and even the players want him.
Tiger makes every single tournament he plays in interesting, for the simple reason that Tiger Woods is in it. He could come back from 10 shots down on the last day, or just maintain a slim lead. Either while playing fully healthy, or on basically one leg, hobbling his way around an 18-hole playoff against Rocco Mediate at Torrey Pines and the U.S. Open last year.
Without the suspense and anticipation Tiger creates within the sport, it will never be the same.
The players will even admit it. A lot of them look up to Tiger, and many feel that a tournament won without Tiger's participation is not truly as great as it is.
Take a look at Padraig Harrington. Yes, he was the PGA Tour Player of the Year last year, winning both the British Open and PGA Championship. But both of those will be taken with a grain of salt, as Tiger was not in the field at either major.
It truly seems that in these days, a golf tournament is truly not a golf tournament without the participation of Tiger Woods.
He also makes the sport fun to watch. The suspense and drama mentioned before lead to this.
I can tell you right now, I remember two things from golf last year: Tiger sinking that 19-foot putt last year on the 72nd hole to capture the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and that 91-hole U.S. Open, where Woods playing on one knee outlasted dark horse Rocco Mediate to capture his 13th major.
Golf is just not the same without Tiger in the field. I guess you could say he has spoiled us. His talent and excellence are what makes it fun to watch, and makes us all lean forward in our seats whenever he lines up to hit the next shot.
As you can see, without Tiger Woods in the field, a golf tournament just isn't the same, whether it's for the fans, the players, or the game itself.
That said, I am very happy to see Tiger back. I look forward to seeing him play for the green jacket at the Masters, and his 14th major, in his quest to surpass Jack Nicklaus and become the greatest player of all time—which we all know he will become one day.