PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem last year compared that to the New York Yankees winning the AL East by 20 games, then starting from scratch in the playoffs. More recently, PGA Tour spokesman Ric Clarson spoke of the significance of the FedEx Cup by suggesting the Green Bay Packers did not know in 1967 that their league championship would become known as the Super Bowl.
Woods, however, made clear what matters most golf has been defined by the majors for the last 50 years, and his decision not to play all four playoff events drives home that point.
Despite not having Woods at Westchester, the PGA Tour most likely will have the best players in the world Woods included over the final three weeks of the season. That kind of participation after the majors are over is unprecedented.
The biggest issue is 2008 and beyond.
After the Tour Championship, most players will get one week off before the Presidents Cup at Royal Montreal. Next year, the top players will be asked to compete four consecutive weeks and then go straight to the Ryder Cup, one of the most draining weeks in golf. It is not likely that Woods or others will play all the playoff events.
Woods was among those who asked Finchem to shorten the regular season, and some thought he would show his support by playing in all four events. Woods even contributed to the tour's marketing campaign. One spot showed Woods lacing up his golf shoes in the locker room while whistling the song, "Eye of the Tiger."
But when the PGA Tour Playoffs begin on Thursday, its All-Pro quarterback will be on the bench.