Tiger Woods is back. Not sure if you heard. I think newspapers wrote about his return from a knee injury and I believe I saw something about Tiger on TV.
There's not an athlete in this country, and maybe the world, that dominates his sport the way Tiger dominates his. Tom Brady goes down the first week of the NFL season, and the NFL keeps ticking without him, albeit with a few layoffs. But Tiger goes down and golf goes with him.
Tiger has the power of life and death. If he shows up at a tournament, it lives. Attendance goes up, ratings go up, coverage goes up, the smiles of sponsors go up and the weather tends to be better. If Tiger fails to show up, the final rounds get lower ratings than Atlantic 10 basketball in the New South.
The problem with ceding so much power to a single athlete is that the people in charge of his sport must work very hard to make him happy.
I'm not saying the PGA Tour, which has now experienced life without Tiger, will do this.
But if I see Phil Mickelson with Tiger's bag slung over his shoulder, I'll know why.