Without Tiger, PGA Tour holds its breath – Metro US

Without Tiger, PGA Tour holds its breath

The 2010 PGA Tour season begins in earnest today in San Diego.

And Tiger Woods will not be playing, much to the chagrin of organizers.

The effect of the absence of the world’s top-ranked golfer — driven to exile by a wide-ranging infidelity scandal — has been minimal at the three tournaments since the Tour’s official tee-off Jan. 7.

Those — Hawaii’s SBS Championship, the Sony?Open in Hawaii and the desert Bob Hope Classic — are rarely well-attended by top pros, and draw little national media attention.

This weekend, though, is the Famers Insurance Open at San Diego’s famed Torrey Pines.

It’s nationally televised (CBS), and is — by far — the biggest event of the early “West Coast Swing.”

Woods has won it six times, including four in a row from 2005-08. His 22-under 266 in 1999 tied George Burns’ scoring record set in 1987.

But he won’t be there today; not when archrival Phil Mickelson opens at 9 a.m. local time, or when Nick Watney starts his title defense at 10 a.m. on the North Course’s 10th tee.

Television ratings are sure to take a nosedive without Woods; the final round garnered a 2.0 last year with him injured as opposed to a Tiger-ful 4.2 in 2008, according to an Associated Press report.

The tournament didn’t even have a title sponsor until Jan. 18, when Farmers signed on to replace Buick, which dropped its deal when parent company GM filed for bankruptcy.

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