The Power Play: Welcome back, Tiger

He’s back. That thought has to be going through the minds of all of the players on the PGA Tour right now.

Tiger Woods’ return after reconstructive knee surgery means just one thing. Nobody is safe anymore.

Who can forget that memorable Monday playoff at the U.S. Open when Tiger hobbled around Torrey Pines on a bad leg?

For an entire five days, Woods fought off the pain of an injured knee and put himself in a position to get into the playoff with a clutch putt on the 72nd hole of the tournament.

Then he had to battle a pesky Rocco Mediate for 18 more holes on Monday, and that wasn’t enough.

After winning the tournament on the first hole of sudden death, Woods had completed one of the gutsiest performances of our time.

It was the last on-course image we had of Tiger. Now, all those other players have to contend with the world’s best player again.

So, what does all of this mean? It’s hard to say.

If history is any indication, any rust that the world’s number one player might have will be gone in a matter of weeks.

Think the PGA Tour has missed Tiger?

That depends on who you ask. If it’s the executives that run the Tour, then the answer is a resounding yes.

You see, Tiger is golf’s cash cow. He drives the sport. His galleries on weekends are triple that of any other Tour player not named Phil Mickelson, and TV ratings tumble when he isn’t playing.

Tiger is the face of the sport.

Without him, the sport has no face. Without him, like him or not, golf just isn’t the same.

Imagine the Masters without Tiger Woods. Can’t do it, can you?

Neither can I. Few people will remember who won those majors that he didn’t play in during 2008.

And, if you didn’t know, the same man won both of those majors.

His name is Padraig Harrington. Keep an eye out for him once Masters Sunday rolls around.

Anyway, welcome back, Tiger. Hope you got enough rest. You have some work to do.