Keegan Bradley
Tiger Woods, the game of golf needs you. Come back to us, at least by the 2012 Masters, please. I think you will, but I need some reassurance. Watching Keegan Bradley out-duel Jason Dufner just isn’t cutting it for me.

Yesterday Keegan Bradley won the PGA Championship in his first major start, becoming only the 3rd player in the last 100 years to do so. Talk about an unlikely winner, Keegan joins the likes of Yang Yong-eun, Louis Oosthuizen, Martin Kaymer, and Charl Schwartzel on the list of relative no-names to win a major title more recently than Woods (the 2008 US Open being his last major victory). And while this was indeed a dramatic finish with Keegan coming from 5 strokes back over the last 3 holes after he chipped into the water for a triple bogey at the 15th, even the seesaw ending couldn’t keep me glued to the TV and off of the beirut table. This is a problem, as I fall into the golf-obsessed category and am not a “casual” fan. If you’re losing me, you’re losing just about everybody, which certainly isn’t good for the game.

A closer look at this new Tiger-less era shows a major shift in the caliber of player winning majors – while 2005-2008 saw the likes of Angel Cabrera, Zach Johnson, Michael Campbell, and Trevor Immelman captures major titles, those guys were certainly not Charl Schwartzel or Keegan Bradley types. They were and had long been absolute world class players, the elite players of the international game although not yet superstars like Tiger or Phil. All I’m trying to say is that while the “Woods effect” will never diminish in terms of the number of people he got to play the game, TV viewership is going to landslide if the big names don’t return to the spotlight.

I expect that they will, and I can’t wait. While the 2011 PGA Championship was dramatic, I prefer watching historic golf excellence over a who can choke less contest – and I think that the rest of the golf world is with me on this one.


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