One of the first things you learn as a cadet reporter is there are only six questions which make a story newsworthy: it is either the who, what, when, where, how or why of any given event.
In professional golf, the only answer to that question for the past quarter century has been the ‘who’ and that ‘who’ has been Tiger Woods.
That reality was on full display again this past week where you’d have to have been living under a rock not to have noticed the 15-time major champion and his 12-year-old son Charlie played the hit and giggle PNC Championship tournament.
The coverage – as is the way with anything Tiger – was way out of proportion to the stature of the event and also – as is the way with anything Tiger – almost to the exclusion of the rest of the field.
(Unless – like Nelly Korda and Lee Trevino – a player had some sort of interaction with Tiger which was then analysed and repeated ad nauseum.)
"As always seems the case with Tiger there are many more questions than answers about what the future holds." - Rod Morri.
The pattern for the week’s coverage tended to take two paths: either questioning the moral rights and wrongs of exposing 12-year-old Charlie to the inevitable scrutiny of playing such an event or speculation about whether Tiger would be able to play next year’s Masters.
Either way, it was suffocating and the whole circus raised – not for the first time – the nagging question of what professional golf might look like post Tiger.
It is impossible to accurately assess Woods’ impact on the game since turning professional and it is similarly impossible to calculate what the impact will be when he inevitably hangs up the clubs.
We’ve had small tastes during his several injury induced absences but they have always been laden with the possibility that he would come back to wow us once again.
The fact he has done exactly that only continues to fuel the fire for the true believers.
But, as Tiger himself has noted on more than one occasion, father time remains undefeated and at some point (spoiler alert: that time will be sooner than later) he will no longer be a factor.
When that happens golf fans will be left with some amazing memories but the golf business will have more serious issues to ponder.
For all their golf brilliance and likeability, none of the generation of players that has come after Tiger has his cut through.
That leaves some significant questions and challenges for those in charge of the professional game, particularly in a landscape of disruptor leagues.
As always seems the case with Tiger there are many more questions than answers about what the future holds.
But one thing is certain: outside the hardcore of golf fans, the game’s visibility is going to take a hit.