It serves to underscore with a big dark line the importance of the four majors and the Ryder Cup of 2001. Very seldom do you ever hear, 'Did you hear who decided not to play?' Majors are more relevant than ever, and they're more difficult to win than ever before because of the overwhelming presence of Tiger Woods.
As in any year, greatness in this sport will be defined at the majors. So, the biggest story looming in the New Year could be called, 'Grasping Greatness.' Who, but Tiger? And how, with Tiger still on the scene, extending powerfully towards his prime years?
The challenge for players like Phil Mickelson and David Duval to add that all-important first major title is formidable, to say the least. And what's more, the 2001 Masters will be the most anticipated major in years. Why? Because Tiger can do what no man in the modern era has ever done - win a fourth consecutive major.
Interestingly, the golf world's not quite as Tiger-centric during the team competitions, and the 2001 Ryder Cup palpitates on the radar screen. Just wondering, how mercilessly will the British press stab at the wounds opened at Brookline and then the Solheim Cup?
How soon until the U.S. players tire of talking about it, as surely they'll be asked to do in the months leading up to September's showdown?
And which players will make the teams for the battle at the Belfry?
The year is young, but the slow-building roar from Georgia and Great Britain can already be heard.
Full Coverage of the 34th Ryder Cup Matches