Once again, we were reminded why we're all sick in the head – those of us who play golf, love golf, watch golf, care about golf.
All it is, is one long, slow-motion, sadistic, masochistic and creepy peek into our inner beings, where if it's not us choking away a $5 Nassau on a Saturday morning with our pals, it's a highly-paid professional in tailored slacks melting down like a candle under a blow torch.
Or, to put it another way, I watched Stewart Cink play golf on Sunday.
Surely, you've noticed the trend by now. Every week Tiger does not play on Tour, we witness somebody endure terrible heartbreak at his own hand. These are truly tragic figures in the Shakespearean sense – characters whose demise is brought about by their own doing.
If it's not Justin Leonard shooting 72 in the final round of the Hope to blow the lead, it's Vijay Singh making a hat trick of bogeys at Pebble to blow his lead. If it's not Aaron Baddeley missing three chances to put away Tiger in the Match Play, it's Ernie Els taking a four-shot lead on the back nine at Dubai and sliding it through the paper shredder of his psyche.
I'm feeling their pain. Can anybody loan me a DVD of Nicklaus-Watson at Turnberry? I need a pick-me-up.
If you missed Cink's particulars, and don't want to hear them, just go outside with a magnifying glass and find the nearest bug under sunlight. You'll net the same effect.
Bad enough that a player of Cink's skill hadn't won in 86 tries, he opened up a vein with the media on Saturday night and NBC on Sunday morning, saying how important it was for him to close the deal, to make good on his 8 and 7 thumping from Tiger at Match Play, to prove to himself that he won't always be remembered for the missed kick-in at Southern Hills in the 2001 U.S. Open.
The mere fact that, seven years later, jerks like me are still mentioning the missed kick-in at Southern Hills in the 2001 U.S. Open means it appears Cink will be remembered for it.
By laying it out so bare, Cink is metaphorically naked before the golf world.
Somebody throw that man a towel.
He certainly doesn't want to be remembered for a four-shot lead at the PODS Championship on Sunday at Innisbrook. Worse, he sure doesn't want to have anybody send him the MP3 of Johnny Miller's blow-by-blow breakdown of Cink's breakdown.
At 11, when his five-foot birdie putt was not close, Miller dropped this gem: "These kinds of things go through your head: 'Oh, my word, I didn't even hit the hole.'"
At 13, when he three-putted to drop into a tie for the lead, Miller admonished: "I mean, come on, Stewart, start playing golf and run away with this thing, like you said you needed to."
At 14, when Cink's ball unbelievably came to a rest next to a tree trunk, rendering his second shot nearly unplayable and forcing Cink to swipe at it left-handed, Miller kited in with a tender: "This could be Whiff City."
After Cink's left-handed swipe went about 10 yards, Miller was kind enough to offer this peek into Cink's soul: "His insides are churning."
And at 15, when Cink missed a three-footer for par, Miller was sympathetic. Not. "That's all nerves," Miller said, almost gleeful. "No doubt about it."
Remember that magnifying glass I said you should look for, to roast that bug in the sun? Johnny Miller was Stewart Cink's magnifying glass on Sunday.
But hey, that's Miller's gig. He gets paid big bucks to offer unadulterated honesty about the golf world, and he does a bang-up job of it. My larger point is: Every week, it seems, Miller has a chance to describe a 15-car pile-up on a fairway.
With respect to the world's best, I leave you with the words of the great former Masters champion Casey Stengel himself: Can't anybody here play this game?
Scorecard of the week
• 69-71-71-69 – Sean O'Hair, winner, PODS Championship
I almost forgot: Somebody won the darn thing.
I've always liked Sean O'Hair's game: pretty swing, young age, compelling personal story. Plus, when's the last time you saw a guy shoot a 28 when it comes to waist size on his slacks? O'Hair has the build of a 1-iron and a swing so mellifluous, he can probably hit the club on the screws repeatedly.
We wait and we wait and we wait for the next young player to take on Tiger, and we all know – that player is not coming. It won't be O'Hair, either. But, O'Hair can use the win to make a run at a Ryder Cup, and perhaps he's the sort of fresh blood the U.S. of A. needs to get this thing going.
Nice playing, kid.
Mulligan of the week
Credit the Golf Channel for the Friday find of Scott Verplank in a greenside bunker. Just as Verplank began the descent of his backswing, a weather siren blared, having the same effect as a college prankster blowing an air-horn at a college debate.
Verplank nearly bladed the thing into obscurity, but through his immense skill was able to keep it within the same area code. It was the worst case of spooking someone in his swing since Al Czervik taunted Judge Smails.
Somebody get that man a mulligan.
Broadcast moment of the week
What, Johnny Miller's verbal peppering of Cink wasn't enough for you?
We're leaving it at that this week.
Where do we go from here?
As the room service man said to Spinal Tap upon delivering the meal to the rock and roll legends: "Ah, civilization!"
We go from PODS to Bay Hill, from no Tiger to Tiger, and welcome the familiar smile of The King at his hosted tournament. It feels like sunshine after a long gray spell. Somebody get me a lemonade-iced tea combo.