In a final-round duel between the legendary Ernie Els and the career grinder Boo Weekley, you know who wins, right?
When Charles Howell III finds himself in a sudden-death playoff with Phil Mickelson, it's pretty clear which guy folds and which one finishes, no?
As it turns out, no. Let me expound on that: no, no and no.
Weekley chips in twice on the last two holes while Els ends up in a hazard on the wrong side of the TV tower. Johnson steps on Woods's neck with a birdie on 16. And Howell rolls in a series of clutch putts to deflate Mick the Stick.
Welcome to the new PGA Tour, where the old dynasties no longer apply and the parity recalls nothing so much as the NFL. Simply put, the guys winning the biggest checks are not the ones with the biggest airplanes. They don't have the most logos or know their way around an acceptance speech.
After the jacket ceremony on Augusta's practice green two weeks ago, Johnson threw his head back in exasperation after apparently forgetting to thank someone.
At the Verizon Heritage on Sunday, when a Tour official asked how it felt to have vaulted into the top 10 in FedEx Cup points, Weekley said, "I'm trying to understand [the FedEx Cup], but I ain't figured it out yet."
What do you think Tiger or Phil or Ernie would have said? "It's an honor," they would have said. "I'm ecstatic," they would have said. They would have said these things because they are schooled in the art of the platitude, which is a byproduct of winning a combined 101 times on Tour.
But not anymore; not lately. With the exception of Vijay Singh, who continues to defy age (44) and leads the FedEx Cup standings, whatever they are, after two wins this season, golf's surest Sunday closers have never looked less assured. What we've got instead is a steady diet of Paul Goydos and Charley Hoffman, Aaron Baddeley and Mark Wilson.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Woods, altogether now, hadn't coughed up a lead in the final round of a major until he did it at Augusta, and he didn't look great in winning the CA Championship at Doral last month. He used to pay off vacation homes at those two tracks, along with Torrey Pines (Buick Invitational) and Medinah (PGA) and Firestone (NEC, Bridgestone).
There was never any question that he was going to reel in Johnson and win his fifth green jacket; we kept watching only to see how he would do it. Even now it's hard to say what happened. Why didn't he hit driver on the par-5 8th hole on Sunday at Augusta? Why did he insist that he lost the tournament on the two days he finished bogey-bogey instead of Sunday, when he really did lose it?