PGA Tour: Tiger Woods Is Done for the Season...Good for Golf?

John LewisSenior Writer IJune 19, 2008

As the world's No. 1 golfer packs it in for a little surgery and rehab, is it good for golf if Tiger Woods isn't playing? 

We all know about how the ratings will suffer, as golf won't be able to grab the casual fan but hey, there was a PGA tour before Tiger and there will be one without Tiger.

The general consensus in the Woods camp is that he'll come back stronger than ever and pick up where he left off.  It's just hard to fathom that he won the U.S. Open, widely considered to be the toughest test, with one leg.

It was also reported that on the Monday of playoff against Rocco Mediate, there was a nine percent dip in trading on the stock market.  This may be pure coincidence but from the hours of 12-4 p.m. Eastern Time, people weren't trading.

That said, now is the time for the other top golfers in the world to step it up knowing the majors are now there for the taking.  So who will it be and where will it come from? 

We start with world's No. 2, Phil Mickelson, and his inability of late to even contend in the majors.  At one point Mickelson looked as if he would give the world a rival to Tiger Woods when he won back-to-back majors at the 2005 PGA and the 2006 Masters.

But ever since his epic collapse at the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, "lefty" has been looking up to the rest of the field.  Last season Phil made the change to legendary swing coach Butch Harmon, but will this translate into wins? 

Next we look at world's No. 3 Adam Scott, who is also coached by Butch Harmon.  Scott's best finishes in the majors are a tie for third in the 2006 PGA Championship and a tie for eighth at the 2006 British Open.

The Australian's biggest career victory came at the 2006 Tour Championship and he has won at least one tour event ever year since 2003.  However, Scott has yet to become a true force at the majors.

So will world's No. 4 Geoff Ogilvy become the next favorite in the last two majors of the year?  Ogilvy has one major win on his resume, the 2006 U.S Open, and has five top 10's in the past four seasons.

Or will it be world's No. 5 Ernie Els?  Els has three major wins under his belt and has 27 other top 10 finishes.   At the start of the 2007 season "The Big Easy" laid out a three-year plan to challenge Tiger Woods as the top player in the world.

So if it doesn't come from the rest of the top five, than who?  Vijay Singh and Jim Furyk have both won majors.  Or will it be someone like Sergio Garcia who finally broke through this year with a win at the Players Championship?

Look, I know there's a lot of talk about Tiger but for good reason.  He seems to be the only one that can consistently challenge victory every time he tees it up.