Woods is, of course, one of a kind. He's the elite athlete who is also the ultimate grinder. He's a son of the middle class who has made beaucoup bucks but doesn't forget where he came from. He's good for golf, but not in every way. Tiger will play four rounds at Doral, he'll most likely play at Arnold Palmer's tournament at Bay Hill at the end of the month, and he probably won't play after that until the Masters in April. If you view the Tour through the prism of Tiger, you have one eye on Augusta already.
Most Tour players don't think that way. They know that some kind sponsor is offering prize money every week: Doral (and Puerto Rico) this week, the event at the Innisbrook Resort in Central Florida next week, followed by Arnold's invitational at Bay Hill, then the Houston tournament, then the Masters. And after that Hilton Head and New Orleans and Charlotte, and on and on it goes.
And eventually, the Tour will return to Palm Beach Gardens, for the 30th playing of the Honda Classic, in March 2010. At some point Tiger and family will finally move from Orlando to their new home in Jupiter, which is maybe 10 miles from PGA National. The Els family lives nearby at the Bear's Club, on a course designed by Jack Nicklaus. Last week Barbara Nicklaus and Ernie Els and the many on-the-ground PGA pros who work at PGA National were all hoping for the same thing: that someday Tiger will choose to play in the event in his new backyard. It's not too likely, not with a World Golf Championship (the Match Play) the week before the Honda and another WGC (Doral) the week after. Still, it's nice to dream, isn't it?
Get the latest from SI Golf Group writers and editors at GOLF.com/confidential.