Never thought I’d say this: Golf no longer needs Tiger Woods

April 09, 2012 | Drew Forrester

So, yes, I’d like to see Woods recapture his mojo and figure out a way to eat into Jack’s record of 18 majors, but it’s starting to look more and more like it’s not going to happen.

And I’m OK with that.

I suspect, also, “the world of golf” is OK with it.

As Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen showed us on Sunday afternoon, you can win and lose with grace.  Watson was clearly overwhelmed by the moment and could barely pull himself together in the post-victory jacket presentation and the rest of the cool stuff that goes with winning The Masters.  Oosthuizen, meanwhile, took it all like a champion, even in defeat.  His only real mistake down the stretch was an iffy chip from the front of the green on the 10th hole in the playoff.  In the end, it just wasn’t his day to win.  But you didn’t hear any foul language from him and there weren’t any clubs thrown, kicked or otherwise punished.

TV sponsors might want Woods to return to greatness and tournament directors certainly look forward to seeing Tiger in their field, but the game of golf no longer requires his participation in order for the sport to have a high level of importance on our country’s sporting landscape.

Five years ago, that probably wasn’t possible.  Who was going to put us on the edge of our seat in 2007?  Ernie Els? Davis Love III? Stuart Appleby?  Chris DiMarco?

In 2007, it was Tiger Woods and nothing else.

It’s not like that anymore and everything is humming along nicely, thanks to players like Watson and Oosthuizen who showed everyone on Sunday that it’s still entirely possible to be a great player and conduct yourself appropriately in the pursuit of your legacy.