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Tour Confidential: Who is golf's next real No. 1 player? Plus, Trump vs. Hack Golf and whether golf misses Tiger too much

Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott
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Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott.

Every Sunday night, Golf.com conducts an e-mail roundtable with writers from Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

1. Before the Players Championship, four players had a chance to supplant Tiger Woods as World No. 1: Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar However, Gary Van Sickle wrote this week that a “real No. 1 player in the world is someone with staying power, someone we could take a long-term look at and say yes, he’s definitely the best player for the next five years.” Who has the best chance to be that player? Is Players champion Martin Kaymer or Jordan Spieth a candidate?

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@AlanShipnuck): It's still Rory. He's in a little bit of a funk and still top-tenning almost every week. History has shown that when he gets hot he gets really hot, and stays that way for a while. I think he's gonna put it all together this summer and begin a long run at number one.

Joe Passov, senior editor, Golf Magazine (@joepassov): Bubba has long-lasting superstar potential, strictly in terms of talent. You just wonder if he can take the grind long-haul. Kooch seems to be able to handle the grind -- if he can close just a little more reliably, he'd get my vote. In fact, he still gets my vote. He just seems to be in the hunt every week. Good for Kaymer, but he's still too fragile. Spieth? He's awesome in every way...but he's still only got one win.

Jeff Ritter, senior editor, Sports Illustrated Golf Group (@Jeff_Ritter): Van Sickle makes a great point, but we're probably heading for a period like early 2011 when the top spot changes hands a few times over a short period. Doesn't mean the guys aren't worthy, but they're closely bunched, so it could take time to for someone to separate. In 2012, that guy was Rory. The next pro to run away with it might be Spieth, who just keeps steadily climbing. It could also be Tiger if he comes back healthy and strings together a few wins. Or, it could be Rory again. I think those are three most likely players to take No. 1 and stay for a while, but my guess is the ranking changes hands a few times this summer.

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I reject the whole notion of a No. 1 player by any computerized formula. The best player in the game is for you to decide. Right now, I'm thinking about Kaymer, but Langer's in the running and Lydia Ko is, too. As for Adam Scott and, yes, Tiger Woods, attention must be paid. You can fight me on any of those names if that's your thing, but I am tired of all this e-noise. I'm trying to suggest you can decide for yourself. You don't need a computer or a finger in the air screaming, "We're No. 1." The joy of the professional game is what happens on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and especially on Sunday. That's enough. The rankings are a bore.

Mike Walker, assistant managing editor, Golf.com (@michaelwalkerjr): Adam Scott is mathematically inevitable to reach No. 1 sometime soon. We won’t see Tiger-like dominance from Scott, but he is consistent and once he gets to No. 1, he’s going to stay there awhile, even with the anchored-putting ban at the end of next year.

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@GaryVanSickle): Bubba could major his way to the top spot for a while. I like Spieth, everyone likes Spieth, but he appears to need just a little more time. I wouldn't be surprised if whoever grabs the No. 1 ranking this year gives it back next year to a rejuvenated, healthier and refreshed Tiger Woods. It's going to be a fun battle, I think.

Josh Sens, contributing writer, Golf Magazine (@JoshSens): At this very moment, on some dying planet orbiting a red sun, some doomed, Jor-El-like figure might be stuffing his newborn son into a capsule and dispatching him towards Earth. That boy may have the combination of talent, drive and mental toughness required to dominate golf over a span as long as five years. But I don’t see anyone out there now who does.

2. Justin Rose had to look at four different television monitors to determine if his ball had moved before being slapped with a two-stoke penalty following an incident at the 18th hole on Saturday. On Sunday, the Tour rescinded the penalty, citing the new 18-4 rule against penalizing a player if he couldn't discern with the naked eye that he did anything wrong. What did the Tour do right and what did it do wrong?

SHIPNUCK: They got it right in the end rescinding the penalty, but it was a long, torturous process. It certainly would have helped if the proper call had been made from the beginning. Bonus points to Rose for the class he showed throughout.

BAMBERGER: The Tour officials got it wrong on Saturday night and correct on Sunday morning, when they properly applied a new clause from a new rule. It's never too late to try to fix a wrong, unless the competition is over.

RITTER: Rose's ordeal illustrated the flaws in the rule. When he set up for his chip shot, he noticed his ball do something, which is why he quickly backed off while addressing it. Did it move or oscillate? The rules officials needed several supersonic slow-motion replays and an entire evening to think about it before deciding that HD technology was the only way to know for sure. So, they ruled that Rose saw something he couldn't see with his own eyes, even though that thing he couldn't see caused him to react immediately. Anyone else see a problem here? And if this happened on a Sunday and Rose lost by one, would he be declared a winner on Monday? To be clear, I'm not suggesting that Rose tried to get away with something. The problem is that this rule is written too subjectively, and it's now obvious we're heading for more trouble with it.

VAN SICKLE: The Tour didn't apply the new rule soon enough. That should've been an easy decision Saturday night. That said, this is the first time it's come up. This amounted to a dry run that should help in all future occurrences. It was trial and error. The right decision was arrived at, however, so no harm, no foul.

WALKER: The wheels of justice moved slower than Jim Furyk lining up a four-footer, but the Tour got the call right. You really couldn’t ask for a better case to demonstrate what the 18-4 rule means. The next time this comes up, the resolution will come a lot sooner.

PASSOV: The Tour did everything wrong -- and then everything right. Rose and Garcia consulted with each other, then looked at a big screen next to 18. That should have been the end of it. I'm not a big "protecting the field" guy. They should have applied the new 18-4 rule right away, regarding culpability and high-def. Someone should explain why they didn't rule that way from the start, but at least they got it right in the end.

SENS: They corrected an error because he shouldn’t have been penalized in the first place. Rose and his playing partner (Sergio Garcia) watched a video replay of the “incident” and neither was able to see the ball move. That should have been good enough under the current rule, methinks.

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