Tiger's not present - nor will he be until the Presidents Cup in mid-October - but Sergio Garcia is. Fresh off his 1-up victory over Woods in the made-for-television 'Battle at Bighorn', Garcia is primed to capture his first career PGA TOUR title.
It's been a disappointing year for the 20-year-old Spaniard. After a two-win season on the European Tour in 1999, Garcia has posted but two top-5s in 17 combined events in Europe and in the States.
Garcia's primary frustrations have come in his major performances. Garcia shot 75-78 on the weekend to finish tied for 40th at the Masters. He carded a third-round 81 to tie for 46th at the U.S. Open. After opening in 68-69 at the British, Garcia closed in 73-76 to tie for 36th. And at this year's PGA Championship, the event that put him on the golfing map in '99, Garcia alternated over-par rounds with under-par rounds to tie for 34th.
Sergio is one of the few European-born players who have remained in North America for this week's event. Jesper Parnevik is another. After a tumultuous week - in which he quit the European Tour - Parnevik is back on course. Or, at least back on a golf course.
Tiger or no Tiger, Canada's own Mike Weir is the event's biggest celebrity. The left-hander captured his first TOUR victory on his native soil in '99 by shooting weekend rounds of 64-64. His two-shot triumph over Fred Funk made Weir the first Canadian-born player to win a PGA TOUR event since Richard Zokol at the 1992 Greater Milwaukee Open.
The 30-year-old Weir is back to defend, though, when he looks around at the field, he might feel a little older than his age.
Golf's youth movement has made its way north of the border. Charles Howell III, David Gossett, Hunter Haas, Brad Elder, Adam Scott, Andy Miller (son of Johnny) and Hank Kuehne join Garcia at the Northview Golf and Country Club. At 25 years of age, Elder is the eldest of the aforementioned.