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Life goes on (a little quieter) without Tiger...

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Martin Laird | 12:26 UK time, Friday, 5 February 2010

I know it's only the second of my blogs but I can't avoid talking about 'you know who' for another week.

He's still the number one golfer in the world and, now maybe more than ever, hard to ignore.

It's not in my interest to comment on what's been happening off the course but I can definitely talk about the changes on and around the course without Tiger.

Some of you may be surprised to hear this, but I haven't noticed much of a change at all!

Tiger is not like most players, he doesn't hang around in the locker room for a chat, he rarely makes an appearance in places like player dining and he doesn't seem to spend too much time at the tournament site working out the kinks in his game, which might have something to do with the lack of kinks...

In fact, unless you are paired with him (something I have not yet experienced) or in one of the groups near him you can easily go a whole week without seeing him at all.

tigercrowds595.jpgThere have been many weeks where my only sighting of Tiger has been from across a fairway or two and all you can normally see is the top of his head over the thousands of fans that are following him.

He attracts crowds like no one else in the game, this being the only real difference that I noticed last week in San Diego. There just did not seem to be the usual crowd chaos that there is on the weekend at a big tournament.

You always want to have the best player in the world competing and it is no secret that when he's playing the crowd numbers and TV ratings soar.

But the Tour still succeeds without him and there are a lot more PGA Tour events that he doesn't play in than ones that he does, so we are all pretty used to playing in 'Tiger-less' events.

I'm currently in Los Angeles for the Northern Trust Open around one of the best courses we play all year, Riviera Country Club.

It is my third week in a row on the road for the West Coast Swing, with Pebble Beach being the final stop next week.

These events are great as I like California and the golf here, but what makes it really nice is that we get to drive.

My girlfriend Meagan, who travels full-time with me, and I decided to load up our car and drive to all of these events this year, which has been great. Any time we get to stay out of airports is a bonus and it makes these tournaments extra inviting to play in.

Three weeks in a row is normally my limit but I decided to play four this early in the season because I like West coast golf. With the US Open being at Pebble Beach later in the year it's a perfect chance to get some early practice rounds in while playing in a great tournament.

I also like all the courses that these tournaments are on so it was tougher for me to choose which one not to play in than it is to just play in them all.

I then have an off week before the Waste Management Open played at the TPC Scottsdale just five minutes from my house.

After the West Coast the PGA Tour heads to Florida, one state that I don't have a great track record in, so I will be taking a couple of weeks off during those events and get to enjoy a whole month at home.

I can't remember the last time I got to sleep in my own bed for four straight weeks - a small thing to be excited about but, after a month of hotels, it sounds fantastic.

After that we need to get our frequent flier numbers ready as it's up in the air for the rest of the year...

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