The Open will prosper despite absence of Woods
Tiger Woods or his replacement Jason Dufner? Who would you prefer to grace your tournament?
Of course you want Woods to be there and the former world number one's absence at Sandwich next week after he failed to recover from injury is undoubtedly a blow to the Open Championship.
Woods is still, by some distance, the biggest name in golf and draws fans wherever he plays. When he eventually returns from injury it will be a very significant story.
But next week's Open Championship is perfectly capable of prospering without this 14- time major champion. In fact it is hard to remember a more eagerly anticipated running of the game's oldest major, even though we now have confirmation that Woods is not playing.
There is no question of an asterisk being attached to the eventual winner either. Whoever triumphs will be a deserving winner of the Claret Jug and no-one will qualify the achievement by saying: "Ah yes, but Tiger Woods wasn't there."
Why would that be the case in a year in which Woods has already fallen to number 17 in the world?
Woods suffered a recurrence of knee and Achilles tendon injuries at May's Players Championship. Photo: Getty images.
It ultimately didn't apply when he was at home recovering from knee surgery instead of being at the Open in 2008 when he was then the reigning US Open champion. No-one questions Padraig Harrington's right to be called a three-time major winner and we have not heard any claims that Rory McIlroy's victory at the US Open was in any way diminished by Woods' absence.
Any negative impact this time will be felt in American television figures. They were significantly down at Congressional last month and given the current paucity of American success in the majors the appetite for the Open across the Atlantic is unlikely to be at its most voracious.
Here in Britain, though, it is hard to imagine any dip in viewing figures or attendances at Royal St George's.
Three years ago more than 200,000 fans turned up in often miserable weather at Royal Birkdale to witness Harrington's victory. The feel-good factor around UK golf was nowhere near as great then as it is heading into this Championship.
Britons Luke Donald and Lee Westwood head the world rankings, but it is the man who is currently ranked three who is the even bigger deal. McIlroy's maiden major win was of such epic proportions that he was threatening to be the centre of attention whether or not Woods was playing.
Now there is no doubting that the curly haired 22-year-old from Northern Ireland will be top of the bill on the Kent coast. He will provide a compelling storyline throughout the week which will present its own challenges for him.
Woods, meanwhile, is left to continue his quest for full fitness. His desire to be 100% recovered before he plays again is the sensible course and now we are left to wonder whether he will achieve that objective in time for next month's US PGA in Atlanta.
Will he be among those in America who do tune in to watch the Open? If he does, I can't help feeling that he will be royally entertained by those competing in his absence.
Who knows, his replacement Dufner, who was not even first-choice reserve but gained his place because Brendan Jones chose to stay with his heavily-pregnant wife, might even do a Ben Curtis and provide us with another unheralded Sandwich winner.