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PGA Tour desperately needs a star

There's a new star taking the stage almost every week on the PGA Tour, someone getting it all together for four days and kissing the trophy for the photographers.

And then the show moves on down the road and someone else gets to walk up the last fairway with applause washing over him.

In 21 tournaments this year, there have been 19 different winners. It shows how much talent there is out there. Impressive. But the Tour needs someone who goes in as the favorite every time he plays, whose resume reads like fiction, whose score is being watched by everyone else in the field, who hits shots we never forget.

That player is at home in Florida with a bum leg and a streak of 20 months without a victory.

This is not another column about Tiger Woods, but he is in it. Despite his long dry spell, he's still ranked eighth in the world. That tells us how fantastically good he was, how he so eclipsed the field that he was No. 1 and, in effect, nobody was second.

Now a bunch of guys are passing around the No. 1 spot from week to week because there is no genuine No. 1 out there.

There have been some exciting finishes on Tour this year, such as the shootout between former Clemson teammates Lucas Glover and Jonathan Byrd in the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow Club recently. There have been some pleasantly surprising winners such as Jhonattan Vegas. There have been some sparkling rounds by young swingers such as Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler.

But McIlroy, Nick Watney, Bubba Watson, Martin Kaymer, Paul Casey, Dustin Johnson, Luke Donald, Steve Stricker, Lee Westwood, Matt Kuchar, Graeme McDowell and Phil Mickelson have positioned themselves in the lead pack with their body of work, and between them, they have four wins on the U.S. tour this year, two of those by Watson.

Crowd favorite Mickelson, never Mr. Consistency, has been painfully erratic. We thought he might be No. 1 after Woods' personal debacle and physical problems but that was probably more wishful thinking than clear-eyed assessment. He's great fun to watch but too often we are seeing him hip deep in the rough or dropping a ball beside a water hazard or flailing sand out of a bunker.

Anthony Kim, billed as a big star in the making, has been just another guy with a big belt buckle. Sergio Garcia, for whom we saw greatness waiting, is the one with the pained look on his face.

Not a lot of heroics going on.

Why do we need a hero? Why did we need the Yankees all these decades? Why did we need Ben Hogan and Jack Nicklaus? Why did we need Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert? Why did we need Michael Jordan and Larry Bird?

To thrill us, make us marvel, to show us what we had never seen.

Being good is one thing and we can enjoy that. But being great is something different.

Pro golf is a splendid show of beautiful fairways and gorgeous shots, tumbling emotions and nerve-wracking tension. It owes no apologies for what it is.

It's just better when there's someone who can win five or six or seven times in a year and maybe shatter a few records along the way and hit shots that we'll remember 10 years from now. Someone who stands above them all.