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PGA Tour needs boost from some new stars

Parity and dissemination can be good. For instance, it would be nice to have parity where owning an iPad is concerned. And in-ground swimming pool parity would be a plus.

Sports is lousy with division and parity these days. The eighth-place Los Angeles Kings are in the Stanley Cup finals, the 9-7 New York Giants won the Super Bowl, and the 2011 Cardinals -- with the eighth-best record in baseball -- slipped in the back door to win a World Series.

But parity has a flip side. If Cinderella gets to the ball every time, it's not special. You need a sinister, prevailing stepmother for the fairy tale to happen.

Parity is prominent in professional golf these days, and it's not an especially good thing. With the U.S. Open fast approaching, the game is listing without oars in the water, without identity.

The situation was exemplified by the recent Masters. The game's "Big Three," i.e. Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, were easily the most enchanting players at Augusta National in April. Problem was, they were just ceremonial starters.

Once the actual tournament began, things settled back into a more anonymous, diluted state. Coming off his first victory in 30 months, Tiger Woods offered up his worst performance as a professional at Augusta and tied for 40th. Bubba Watson won the tournament, but hardly won the ratings. Viewership was down 22 percent from a year earlier.

Watson now becomes the flavor of the week. He joins Rory McIlroy, Charl Schwartzel, Graeme McDowell and Martin Kaymer as players the golf press props up to fill the void. People got especially carried away with McIlroy, suggesting he has the perfect swing, perfect disposition and perfect opportunity to take the reins. The PGA Tour is 22 events into the season and has 20 different winners.

In terms of excitement, golf is stagnant. The scene still depends on a player who is no longer the player that created that energy to begin with. Woods still makes ratings jump, but he's rarely jumping into contention.

The former No. 1 is now No. 7, approaching his 37th birthday and officially injury prone. He has been absent or missed the cut at six of the last 14 majors, finished 23rd or worse in three of the last four.

But the camera will continue to follow Woods until someone steps forward to hog the headlines. Phil Mickelson will be 42 in June. He has carved out a place on the radar, but it's not going to grow any larger. Vijay Singh is 49, done winning majors. Ernie Els please.

Every decade, the game has had dominant genes, players who win multiple championships, players you can be passionate about, one way or another.

This decade of golf is in a strange place right now. It has no stars, just lots of yawn parity.