A slew of golfers (or would it be a sleeve?) mimicked Tiger Woods' traditional Sunday outfit in the final round of the Workday Championship, wearing a red shirt and black pants. They looked like kids wearing Superman costumes.
Woods is recovering from serious leg injuries suffered last week when he drove off a road in California. He's 45, faces a long rehabilitation, and can't be expected to ever contend in a major championship — or maybe even a PGA Tour event — again.
Watching his peers honor him on Sunday reminded me of one of my strongest memories of covering Woods. It had little to do with swinging a club, and everything to do with the presence of stars of a certain magnitude.
In the 2007 Masters, Woods finished in a tie for second. He had just walked off the 18th green when he reluctantly agreed to a brief interview with CBS reporter Bill Macatee on a small stage in the walkway to the clubhouse.
Macatee touched his ear, indicating that a producer was speaking to him. He told Woods there would be a delay.
What followed was not quiet so much as the absence of sound. Not awkwardness so much as intimidation. Even as roars and cheers wafted up the hill, the crowd around Woods remained silent as he stewed and stared into space, as Macatee neither attempted small talk nor made eye contact.
When the interview finally began, Woods offered a few abrupt answers, then walked off. The crowd followed and cheered.
Woods did not need to win or behave well to command attention. He loomed.
Golf without Woods will be ... fine. Advertisers love the game's demographic, and those reverse mortgages and new-and-improved-again golf clubs won't sell themselves. Golf media will continue to hype the "Next Tiger,'' forgetting the fact that each turns out to be paper.
Take a look at the world golf rankings from last week. Who could be described as compelling?
1. Dustin Johnson: Has the personality of a soggy bunker.
2. Jon Rahm: Talented but has yet to win a major and spent this weekend cursing on and scraping at greens after missing putts.
3. Justin Thomas: Recently uttered a slur on the course and had to apologize. A major talent with just one major victory.
4. Xander Schauffele: Nice guy who, at 27, has not won a major.
5. Tyrrell Hatton: If you're not a diehard golf fan, you're probably wondering who this is.
6. Collin Morikawa: Has won a major but isn't powerful or flashy.
7. Patrick Cantlay: Prides himself on being boring and hasn't won a major.
8. Rory McIlroy: Dynamic game and endearing personality but hasn't won a major since 2014.
9. Webb Simpson: Your parents' PGA golfer — boring guy who wins occasionally because of his putter.
10. Bryson DeChambeau: Golf's best chance at excitement, grabbed the stage with a victory at the U.S. Open in 2020 but hasn't won since and finished 34th at the Masters.
Patrick Reed? Cheats. Tony Finau? Hasn't won a PGA event on the mainland. Brooks Koepka? Dominated majors for two years, then tried to intimidate Johnson at the 2020 PGA Championship and finished 29th.
What's the best hope for golf remaining relevant to Woods fans?
A McIlroy resurgence would be interesting, but he's made it clear he's not obsessed with golf.
Koepka possesses the drive and athletic arrogance of a star, and won four majors in a little more than two calendar years, but has won just one PGA tournament since the summer of 2019.
Sunday, Morikawa won the Workday by three strokes. He became the seventh player since World War II to reach four PGA Tour wins and win a major before the age of 25. Only he and Woods have won a major and a World Golf Championship event before 25.
"I don't think we say thank you enough,'' Morikawa told NBC on the 18th green. "I want to say thank you to Tiger.''
Morikawa may not entice the Tiger crowd, but classy, precocious excellence should earn a certain market share.
This column includes information provided by Justin Ray of 15thClub.com.
Jim Souhan's podcast can be heard at TalkNorth.com. On Twitter: @SouhanStrib. email@example.com