04/15/2013 03:35 pm ET Updated Jun 15, 2013

Tiger... The Thrill Is Gone

Were you rooting for Tiger through this weekend's Masters tournament? Were you rooting against him? Or did you basically not care?

Me? I don't care about his marriage infidelities. Not really. Not any more than I cared about Bill Clinton's dalliance with Monica L. What if we knew every sex-life detail of every world-class athlete? What then?

But I do long for that Tiger Woods we first saw at the 1997 Masters, his long stride swaggering up the 18th, a specimen of a body, a swing of sheer heaven. The whole world knew we were witness to a once-in-a-decade, maybe once-in-a-lifetime sports rarity.

Will Tiger win another Major? I wouldn't bet against him. Will he overcome his fall-from-grace stretch, several years now off his once-brilliant game, and eventually overtake Jack Nicklaus' fabled 18 Majors? Odds against it.

Tiger is still a force. Every tournament yearns to have him in the weekend mix, for ratings, for fans. But the mystique has faded. There was a time when it wasn't only his deft skill with a two-iron that flattened the field. There was also the intangible aura that had the field intimidated, had them quite certain that they had no chance against the guy in the scarlet shirt called Tiger.

Adam Scott was captivating with his heroic birdie putts and his humble Aussie sporting jaunt as he took this year's Masters. Equally magnetic was Scott's playoff opponent, the suave Argentine Angel Cabrera. The young Aussie Jason Day, the even younger 14-year-old Chinese sensation Tianlang Guan both wowed the crowd.

Yes, it was exciting to see Tiger in the mix. Yes, he is ever a special talent. But it used to be that "as Tiger goes, so goes golf."

The game is brimming with other-than-Tiger excitement.

And the playing field has been leveled. Each potential champion has a bag of clubs, some inner demons to put at bay while staring down the shot on the immediate club face, the same steady drizzle weighing down the greens.

The Tiger Thrill is Gone.