The golf world is getting used to life without 14-time major winner Tiger Woods at major championships.
For some of the tour’s younger players, including 22-year-old World No. 2 Jordan Spieth, Woods is more about the game’s lore than its present. Spieth was 15 when Woods won his 14th and last major, the 2008 U.S. Open.
Going back to the 2011 U.S. Open, the 40-year-old Woods has now either missed the tournament or missed the cut in 10 of the past 20 majors. He’s sitting out this week’s Masters as he continues to recover from back surgery, though agent Mark Steinberg said this week that he expects Woods to return to competition sometime this year.
Asked Tuesday if Woods’ absence is noticeable, his chief rival over the past two decades, Phil Mickelson, quipped, “Well, it's not like we shared a house together, so I don't notice it that way.
“… He's a big part of the game even when he's not playing,” Mickelson continued. “The Tour misses him. The game misses him. Hopefully he'll get back to his winning ways. It was only a few years ago (2013) he won five times in a year, so it's not like he's that far off.”
Woods’ absence is likely going to have at least a slight impact on television ratings. But considering Woods’ last PGA Tour win came 32 months ago, he hasn’t had much of an impact on the competition whether he has been teeing it up or not.