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Tiger Woods: Does the Honda Classic Miss Him?

MARANA, AZ - FEBRUARY 23:  Tiger Woods in action during the first round of the World Golf Championships-Accenture Match Play Championship held at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club, Dove Mountain on February 23, 2011 in Marana, Arizona.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Immer ChriswellCorrespondent IMarch 4, 2011

This week, we all know that Tiger Woods is not playing. To me, this is not an issue. Instead, I get to watch Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell. Not a bad weekend. However, the bandwagon golf fan could care less who else is playing. If it isn't Tiger, they don't care. Maybe not just that, just because it isn't Tiger or some notable American golfer (Couples and Mickelson are the only two I can think of) isn't playing.

That is the issue with the PGA Tour. Don't get me wrong, watching Tiger Woods is a thrill. He makes the unthinkable possible, he has turned cliches into realities. But he isn't the only golfer in the world.

Where golf is different from all the other sports is the diversity and depth of the talent. Let's take a look at some of the talent.

Rory McIlroy: At age 21, he has two wins on tour. Two very impressive wins. He is Tiger's pick to eventually be atop the game at some point in his career.

Martin Kaymer: The current world No. 1, Kaymer has a silky smooth swing and the gentleman act to be a golf favorite.

Matt Kuchar: With a smile plastered on your face 24/7, it's easy to play the game of golf. Kuchar doesn't just smile, he is always in a good mood. Another guy who should be a fan favorite to watch.

Let's look at these three golfers. Of the three, they don't even combine to carry as large a following as Tiger Woods. Why? Because everyone got wrapped up in the Tiger Woods Show. Like I said, it was a good one, but let's let other golfers take the show.

While there will be more Tiger this season, let's not try to make it only his show. The three golfers who I just mentioned are just a small percentage of what golf has to offer. Fowler, Mickelson, Lovemark, Garcia, Cink,and so many others have been staples to the passionate fans of golf.

So why doesn't the Honda Classic miss Tiger Woods? PGA National eats up even the best golfers, and it makes it a lot more competitive for it. In other words, it's going to be a battle, even without Woods there. Losing Tiger at this point isn't effecting the quality of the competition. Right now, there are 25 golfers better than him, and he would just be a part of the aforementioned depth of the field.

As for the Bear Trap being the ultimate equalizer, just ask Adam Scott about it. I'm sure he wouldn't be too happy to talk about his experience.

This weekend is unlike a few. Anyone at two or three over par can still win. Why? Not because there's the potential to go low. It's because there are currently only two men better than three under par. And like I said, the Bear Trap humanizes golfers.

This weekend is probably going to be one of the closest tournaments (in the sense of the number of people still in it on Sunday), but nobody is going to care because Tiger Woods isn't there. Nobody cares if Kyle Stanley or Rory Sabbatini wins. I don't even think anyone cares if Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, or Graeme McDowell wins. Why? They are European golfers.

The Honda Classic misses the ratings that Tiger brings, but other than that, the players are enjoying a weekend away from the media circus. Besides, nobody wants to hear the standard bash Tiger articles would he have fallen victim to the Bear Trap.

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