Tour Confidential: Tiger Woods is contending, though how tighten is he to indeed winning?

GOLF.com conducts a weekly roundtable with writers from Sports Illustrated and GOLF Magazine. Check in any Sunday night for a unfiltered opinions of a writers and editors and join a review by tweeting us @golf_com.

1. While Webb Simpson ran divided with a Players Championship, Tiger Woods stole some of his thunder by putting together arguably his best 4 rounds of a season. He was 10 underneath on a weekend with 14 birdies and only dual bogeys (and one disorderly double on 17 on Sunday). Clearly Woods has a diversion to contend, yet what does he many need to urge to win?

Jeff Ritter, digital growth editor, GOLF.com (@Jeff_Ritter): There’s no doubt he’s on a cusp. His motorist is during times wobbly, yet altogether we consider it’s only a matter of conflict improved shots underneath a gun on Sunday afternoon. If he stays healthy and continues to put himself in contention, a pretension is going to occur somewhere along a way.

Alan Shipnuck, comparison writer, GOLF (@AlanShipnuck): He did so many things good yet a shot that lingers is currently on 17 — he prosaic out muffed it miles brief into a water. From 1997 to 2009 what distant Tiger some-more than anything else was his mental strength. To make a mistake like that shot on 17, when he had been personification so well, was revealing.

Michael Bamberger, comparison writer, GOLF: He has to finish. Finish any round. Takes huge calm to do that, and belief.

Josh Sens, contributing writer, GOLF (@JoshSens): Those 3 answers cover it flattering well. In Tiger’s return, it’s his motorist that has mostly tricked him. When he’s kept it in play, he has contended. As Alan said, though, a H2O spin on 17 was striking. Like a double-cross OB down a widen during Arnie’s event, it was something we wouldn’t have seen from rise Tiger. He’s tellurian now. You could contend that creates him some-more compelling.

Dylan Dethier, associate editor, GOLF.com (@dylan_dethier): I’m with Bamberger. Saturday and Sunday, Woods played holes 1-12 in 14 underneath and was 4 over on a final six. Get it to a house!

Joe Passov, comparison editor, GOLF Magazine (@joepassov): He’s very, unequivocally close. He gathering a spin many improved today, and in this tournament. He missed with a crowd during 14 after a 340-yard expostulate down a center and he missed a brief one again during 17, when there was no genuine reason to cut it that fine. He was never going to kick Simpson, yet those dual errors cost him all a goodies that come with a runner-up finish during a Players.

John Wood, caddie for Matt Kuchar (@johnwould): Just keep personification and sojourn healthy. we consider any time he’s teed it adult he learns a bit some-more about where he is, generally mentally. we would unequivocally pattern him to be there in a finish during Jack’s event, where he’s had a prominence or two, and during Shinnecock.

Tiger Woods shot 69 on Sunday and finished T11.

Tiger Woods shot 69 on Sunday and finished T11.

2. Winless given 2013, Webb Simpson went out and blitzed a field during a Players Championship. He led by 7 entering a final spin and cruised to his fifth PGA Tour victory. Given a strength of margin and status of a event, where does Simpson’s four-stroke win arrange among a many widespread performances in new Tour history?

Ritter: Well, it wasn’t Tiger during a ‘97 Masters, yet it was intensely considerable how Webb slammed a doorway on Saturday and never left a outcome in doubt even for a impulse on Sunday. It gave me flashbacks to Martin Kaymer during a ‘14 Pinehurst U.S. Open. It was also prohibited and wet that week.

Shipnuck: Hard to trust a U.S. Open and this feat are a bookends to 5 winless years. No doubt a anchoring anathema had a large outcome on Simpson. Now that he’s back, it will be engaging to see if/how he builds on this win. It was positively a fantastic performance.

Sens: We’ve seen a series of players browbeat events in some-more fantastic fashion. What done this important wasn’t so many a approach he won yet that there was no one who could have seen it coming.

Dethier: We got only a ambience of alliance when Webb came out a small squirrelly a initial 10 holes, yet he reason a lead for a final 54 holes of a contest and never severely faltered. Big-time respect. Double during a final done it demeanour closer than it unequivocally was. Overall, it called to mind Kaymer during a 2014 U.S. Open (he won by eight). Let’s see what’s to follow for Webb.

Passov: Kaymer during Pinehurst was on my mind for a final 36 holes. Simpson, to his credit, has posted a garland of good finishes over a past integrate of winless seasons, so he was clearly on a fork of winning. However, we marvel when a non-dominant actor only crushes it like this, that happens from time to time. This isn’t Tiger or Jack in his prime, nor does he have Rory or DJ length, or Crenshaw-like flow them in from everywhere. How do we lead and win by this much, if you’re Webb Simpson? All we can do is tip your cap.

Wood: I’ve always told Webb (and his caddie Paul Tesori) that if there was a stat on Tour that totalled “Strokes Gained: Attitude” Webb would be right during a top. You wouldn’t pattern someone to be means to browbeat this eventuality who wasn’t unequivocally good famous for one thing — ball-striking. But Webb put this thing divided early and never let anyone get close. So, we consider this was a many widespread opening in new memory.

Webb Simpson and his caddie applaud their victory.

Webb Simpson and his caddie applaud their victory.

3. TPC Sawgrass played as a fifth-hardest march on Tour final year. It had a scoring normal of 73.291, and no actor pennyless 66. Then came this year, when a march record (63) was threatened several times — Webb Simpson 63, Brooks Koepka 63, Tiger Woods 65, Jordan Spieth 65 — and it had a scoring normal of 71.409. What gives? And what form of TPC Sawgrass do we like improved for a Players?

Ritter: It was erotic and not accurately breezy. we unequivocally like a Players to have a few some-more thrills and spills, with thespian moves adult and down a house as players dash out of it. The Tour can control many variables on what’s radically a home course…but not a weather.

Shipnuck: Seems like a severe was some-more soothing than in past years, too. The Stadium Course is already laughably short, yet generally so in prohibited weather. Colder, windier, firmer conditions in Mar should make for a improved Players.

Bamberger: The severe was down, a greens were holding, a spin was going forever. All that yields a lot of 68s.

Sens: All true. Doubtful will see a march so clean shorn subsequent year.

Dethier: Late groups on Sunday felt like they were personification to a standard of about 69! It was distinguished saying guys like Tiger strike manacles off a 462-yard 18th hole all week. The Stadium Course feels like it final lots of good, plain shots while punishing any horrific misfires. Lots of wedges and hot, still conditions done this week quite easy.

Passov: Under Tim Finchem’s watch, a golf march got divided from a rough-and-tumble, indeterminate weirdness that Pete Dye’s strange pattern delivered. Today it looks incredible, yet it has that Augusta National overly manicured look. There was small difficulty in recuperating from severe and hunger straw. In a aged days, a guys howled when they missed a fairway. The uptick in breeze subsequent Mar will assistance revive some teeth into a layout.

Wood: we was unequivocally astounded by how a march played out during a week. I’ve never seen it in improved shape. There was thicker weed coverage than I’ve ever seen. It’s always in good shape, yet a weed here was always a small meagre and skinny and there would be a lot of severe lies, generally around a greens. Not so this year. Though we still had a formidable into-the-grain chips, a chipping areas were so ideal they were puttable. One thing that undetermined me was march setup. There’s zero we can do about a rough. It didn’t grow. It’s customarily not that prolonged per se, yet it’s customarily extravagantly indeterminate in terms of throwing fliers. we don’t consider we had one this week. But a truly obscure thing was a greens. On a prohibited week with no rain, they stayed soothing and, for a Players, on a delayed side. After Friday, Sawgrass’ greens customarily get scarier and scarier. They typically get firmer and firmer, usurpation ONLY a ideally struck shot. And they typically get glassy, shiny, and start to spin purple. All this adds adult to carrying to play unequivocally defensively, not means to conflict pins given they wouldn’t hold, and carrying to putt conservatively for fear of putts using good past a hole. They remained a same (perfect) all week and didn’t ask for some-more as they customarily do.

4. Speaking of a PGA Tour’s report change, subsequent year a Players will pierce from May to Mar and be played before all 4 majors. Will a change have any outcome on march conditions and a status or notice of a event?

Ritter: Well, a continue should be worse, that will make it better! It competence accept even some-more hype and expectation as it takes on a purpose of major-season table-setter. I’m looking brazen to it.

Shipnuck: See above.

Bamberger: Oh, it’s a opposite march in March, with totally opposite weather. Mar will be improved in any way.

Sens: What’s a emoji for: ditto to all that?

Dethier: Won’t be as green! But a new report is SO many better. Good job, Tour.

Passov: As a anchor reside in a Florida swing, a Players was always overwhelming in March, with a breeze and a lead-up. Yes, it ran into college hoops, yet it’s always going to run into something…such as mid-May ennui. I’m gratified to see it lapse to March, and given a PGA Tour’s wrap-around season, a status will go up, due to a “mid-season” placement.

Wood: we remember when it used to be played in March, and it is a totally opposite kettle of fish. we privately remember personification 36 holes on a Sunday in cold, breezy conditions, sharpened even standard for a day and feeling like we only stole something. The many important change will be a 17th hole. For a many partial given a contest changed to May, we would get a breeze that had some assistance in it, that creates that shot many simpler. Wedges of all kinds and spasmodic nine-irons have been a rule. To my memory, in Mar we tended to get some-more of a northwest wind, definition that hole will be played with a left to right and spiteful wind…the many formidable breeze there is for a right-handed player. Plus, it will be cooler, so those wedges and nine-irons will spin into seven-, eight- and nine-irons requiring many some-more guesswork. Is a breeze there? Is it fibbing down? If we moody this too low will it go by a breeze and go long? If we get it adult too many into a atmosphere with too many spin will it get killed and come adult short? You’ll start saying a lot some-more idiocy there, that we consider a open enjoys.

Justin Thomas is a new top-ranked actor in a world.

Justin Thomas is a new top-ranked actor in a world.

5. After 64 uninterrupted weeks as a World No. 1, Dustin Johnson has been dethroned in preference of Justin Thomas. Will Thomas, a 21st actor to strech No. 1, be during a tip for a longer or shorter uninterrupted widen that DJ? (And … only for fun — who will be a NEXT No. 1 after JT?)

Ritter: Before we get too gentle with a JT era, it’s unequivocally probable DJ swipes it behind in a subsequent few weeks. But if there isn’t a back-and-forth between a dual guys, Jon Rahm is sneaking and about due for his initial major. we could see him as a subsequent No. 1.

Shipnuck: Sixty-four weeks is a loooong run in this day and age – all credit to DJ. And Spieth is right there, too. we consider it will be flighty via a summer, that is fun. Jason Day could be a subsequent No. 1 a approach he’s going!

Bamberger: They are bunched during a top. Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Rory, Jon Rahm, maybe even Bubba could waylay One divided from Thomas, and he could squeeze it right back. Interesting times.

Sens: we have a tough time removing too vehement about who is No. 1, or 2, or 3. Rising to a tip of a ranking comes from winning. Great play down a widen in hotly contested events is what we like watching, not who stands where in a OWGR. What’s engaging now in this age of relation is how unfit it has turn to envision who is going to mangle out next.

Dethier: It’s good to see a OWGR finally align with who it feels like should reason golf’s championship belt, and Thomas has felt like a estimable hilt given late final year. Jordan Spieth feels like a vital hazard to plea a bench as we get serve into a season.

Passov: I’m with Mr. Sens on this one. No. 1 only seems too liquid to me to matter much. JT didn’t win to waylay it, it only happened organically. Zzzzzzz. Happy for JT, given he’s certified how many it meant to him, yet I’m some-more meddlesome in majors and rivalries, not where a man ranks on May 13.

Wood: we determine with Mr. Sens as well. If we asked any of these guys if they’d rather lapse to No. 1 for a duration of time or win 5 some-more majors before they hang it adult yet never lapse to No. 1, any one would answer before we finish seeking a question. Becoming No. 1 is about a journey, and what we accomplish during that run. When one starts articulate about divisor numbers and a outcome if Player A finishes T7 or improved and Player B finishes outward a tip 20, does anyone unequivocally care?

6. Phil Mickelson had some fun with his well-hyped grouping with Tiger Woods (and Rickie Fowler). During his Tuesday press discussion he said, “Why don’t we only bypass all a subordinate things of a contest and only go head-to-head and only have kind of a high-stake, winner-take-all match?” Mickelson was joking (we think?!), yet we aren’t. When, where and in what format would we like to see a Phil vs. Tiger exhibition?

Ritter: Um, anytime, anyplace? If we listen closely this week, we competence hear TV executives in Midtown NYC enormous open decade-old files on a Battle of a Bighorn. we could see a re-boot, yet to be honest, I’d like to only mic ‘em adult for a Tuesday use spin where they’re personification a $100(-ish) Nassau.

Wood: I’m not so certain he was joking. we could simply see this as a hide preview of sorts. What we would like to see is those dual teeing it adult during Pine Valley or Merion with persimmon, steel shafts and balata balls. That won’t happen, yet we wouldn’t be astounded if we do see something like a “fight night” setup somewhere soon.

Bamberger: Phil would pointer on for that, I’m sure. He has so many showman in him. Could never suppose Tiger doing it. When he did do it, he seemed to half-hate it, and that was a prolonged time ago.

Shipnuck: we wrote this during slightest a year ago, yet how about a reboot of a Skins Game, yet any man has to put in his possess money? And they have to compare whatever a other guys puts in? You know Phil would chuck down a few million right off a top, goading a others to strech deep. If we got him, Tiger, Rory and Jordan and a pot of $10 million-plus it would be a home run.

Sens: Exactly. Have them put adult their possess money. Loser donates to a winner’s choice of charity. And leader gives a good cube of loot divided too. Watching these guys play to serve heighten themselves is not during all engaging (to me, during least; I’m certain it would sell). What should be during interest for them is honour and bragging rights, in a same approach that Kevin Durant and Kobe and other NBA studs play in that travel eventuality in LA. Put them on a scraggly muni and have them conflict it out with zero some-more on a line than what matters most.

Dethier: All we ask is high stakes, no caddies, and involuntary two-down presses.

Passov: Ugh. I’d rather see a dual of them go during any other during sports trivia, or on Feherty, or maybe list tennis in a Ryder Cup group room.

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