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Original Issue


Although Tiger didn't win in Augusta, evidence of his success was everywhere. After 54 holes the top eight were from Northern Ireland, Australia, South Africa, Argentina and South Korea. Since Tiger Woods(below) abdicated his throne, every player, it seems, is vying for the top spot, especially those of a younger generation imbued with a confidence that their predecessors lacked.

The seminal moment in American golf, in terms of growth, was Francis Ouimet's win at the 1913 U.S. Open, when he upset the giants of the game and stirred the interest of the nation. Globally, the same thing happened with the meteoric rise of Woods. His racially mixed makeup appealed to the world, and the way he looks and plays golf has made a sport out of what most people called a game. In the U.S. the game has not grown since Tiger's arrival, but around the world it is a different story. In China, India and South America millions will likely be drawn to the links, if for no other reason than that golf will be played at the Olympics for the first time in more than 100 years. Golf's governing bodies fought hard for inclusion, and I can't help but think that the IOC realized that having Tiger in Brazil in 2016 would add to the most watched sporting event in the world.

In five years Tiger will be 40, and who knows if he'll still be playing. Perhaps, having broken Jack Nicklaus's records, he will have retired. Regardless, the game will have a different face and more participants as countries scramble to produce players to represent them in a sport that for many didn't exist until April 1997.

Brandel Chamblee is a 15-year PGA Tour vet and analyst for Golf Channel.