"The atmosphere hasn't been quite the same."

Good news for the Commissioner: fewer people are talking about Phil's defection.

Bad news: because everyone is talking about the lousy attendance and lack of buzz at normally amped up Cog Hill.

Read Four-putt posted a few thoughts on this, while Steve Elling wrote that Chicagoans can be comforted by the fact that 2008 will likely see more star defections at all of the season ending playoff events.

Chicago was a fantastic musical, and the media types have been crowing and dancing in both unison and perfect harmony to express their outrage that a burgh with 10 million folks will be left holding the bag in two of the next three years.

Let's not have a Mrs. O'Leary-sized cow, OK?

As much critical fire as the FedEx Cup plan has drawn from fans and sponsors for failing to deliver on its implied promises to put Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els on the same stage over four consecutive weeks, the real issues are fast becoming apparent.

By next year, the fields from this season's inaugural FedEx run are going to feel like the stars were present in perfect attendance. The potential potholes for 2008 with regard to scheduling, barring an organizational miracle, make this year's foibles seem like minor nuisances.

While the 2008 schedule hasn't been formally released, based on its likely structure, top players will be asked to compete seven times in an eight-week span, culminating with the greatest cauldron of pressure in the game, the Ryder Cup. When it comes to finding excuses not to play next year, gentlemen, start your search engines.

Meanwhile, Tiger was asked about the crowds, after getting some hard hitting questions out of the way...

Q. Did you go home from Boston or did you come straight here?
TIGER WOODS: I came straight here.

Q. Did you wear that shirt last week?

Q. When is the last time you wore a shirt twice?
TIGER WOODS: I wear it all the time, actually. I'm not that way.

Q. I know it sounds really gay, but I recognized it (laughter). It looks good.
TIGER WOODS: Thanks. I love it.

Not that there's anything wrong with that!

Q. How were the crowds today?

TIGER WOODS: There were a few more people. Still, it's not the same as the Western, that's for sure. Granted, the weather was a little sketchy, so maybe they didn't come out because of that.

And I thought this was interesting. It seems Tiger thought so too:

Q. This is a public course, you obviously play really well here, and some of the other public courses you play really well. Is that a coincidence? Do you play well at these types of places? Do you feel at home? It's an odd question, but you grew up and cut your teeth on them.

TIGER WOODS: I certainly did not grow up on a country club, that's for sure. Yeah, public courses is where it was at. I grew up on a par-3 course, just with -- the longest hole was 150 yards I believe it was. Granted, I couldn't get there -- I used to hit driver, 7-iron when I first started playing it. That's what we did. The great thing with playing Southern Cal junior golf is you got a chance to play country clubs every now and then, and it was like the coolest thing in the world. Oh, my God, the greens are great here, that kind of thing.
I don't know, that's a good question.

Q. What was the par-3 course?

TIGER WOODS: Hartwell. It's in Long Beach.

Back to the sensitive subject at hand...

 Q. Do you see any difference in the tournament from last year to this year with the tournament having BMW as a sponsor?

TIGER WOODS: Well, the crowds haven't really come out this year so far. The atmosphere hasn't been quite the same. Granted, we moved the tee times up yesterday and then the bad weather today, so it's been kind of a double dip against the tournament. But hopefully this weekend people will come out and we'll get some great weather, and hopefully we can play some good golf and get everyone fired up.