It may be a tradition unlike another, but this year's Masters will have a different feel to it. Absent for the first time in more than two decades at Augusta National is the second-greatest golfer of all-time and the most popular in the history of the game. Once Tiger Woods announced back surgery would cause him to miss the season's first major (and likely others as well) the feel around this weekend's golf tournament changed noticeably.

Woods is like a rock star. He has become a polarizing figure since his personal indiscretions came to light in 2009, but there is no denying that his presence in any event captures the imagination of the general public. He brings a buzz into any golf tournament he participates in, and the game isn't the same without him.

The beauty of Tiger is that he makes you feel some sort of emotion when you watch him play. You either love him or hate him, but there does not seem to be an I between for most people.

That sort of passion is sorely missing in the game anywhere else.

The only other pro golfer out there right now that you can honestly say, 'There is no way I'm not watching on Sunday if he is in contention,' is Phil Mickelson, who is 43-years-old. And that's what is wrong with the sport at the moment.

People talk all the time about how deep the current fields are compared to the past and they are right. There are certainly more players out there today who are capable of winning a major than there were a generation ago. But while more players can win, there are not nearly as many who are good enough to capture multiple crowns.

Think about it. Of the best players in the world at the moment, how many have never won a major? Four of the top 10 in the world golf rankings and nine of the top 20 have never tasted victory on any of golf's four biggest stages. Only Mickelson and Rory McIlroy have won multiple majors in the last six years.

Parity reigns supreme, and no one likes to watch parity.

Golf desperately needs someone from the group of McIlroy, Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson, Adam Scott or Jason Duffner to start winning majors consistently. Someone who can capture one a year while threatening at one or two more is what the sport is in search of.

Each of the players listed above have the skill needed to win at that level. They also have the chops to withstand the pressure (well at least more often than not because McIlroy and Scott are both prone to the occasional back-nine meltdown) of competing down the stretch at a major.

For whatever reason though, none of them have been able to take that next step toward grabbing the mantle of the game's top player. Tiger hasn't won a major since 2008 and he still sits atop the world golf rankings. That's sad and it's also a big part of the reason why so many are melancholy over Woods' absence this week at Augusta.

Someone has to take advantage of the void Tiger's absence creates. Can anyone actually do it? Golf better hope it starts to happen over the next four days.