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Tour Confidential: Should Hunter Mahan make the Ryder Cup team? Plus, the best recovery shots ever and the future of golf

Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson
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Phil Mickelson comforts Hunter Mahan at the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor in Wales. Mahan lost the deciding Cup match to Graeme McDowell.

Every Sunday night, 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. Hunter Mahan surged past a crowded leaderboard to win the Barclays by two shots. If you were Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson, would you pick Mahan for the team? Why or why not?

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@GaryVanSickle): Watson has to pick some hot hands and hardly anyone else is hot, so he'll have to go with Mahan. Only reason not to pick him is how he played the 18th hole with a three-shot lead since every hole at the Ryder Cup is like playing the 18th hole in a tournament. But Mahan's already been through that trial by fire. So pick him.

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine (@CameronMorfit): I would pick Hunter. Yeah, he lost to G-Mac at Celtic Manor, but if you're (still) looking to assign blame for that loss, the candidates run deep. You can't, alas, say the same for the pool of Americans who are peaking at this late date and who stand out as a good wildcard pick. If Hunter plays well (top 20) in Boston, I would think he's going to get picked.

Josh Sens, contributing writer, Golf Magazine (@JoshSens): Yes, given the three Golden Rules of Ryder Cup selection. 1.) Go with the hot hand (see the Barclays) 2.) Go with a guy who's really into it (see his fire at Celtic Manor) 3.) Go with guy who provides a good story line (see redemption).

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I would make up my mind on Sept. 2. No need to commit now.

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@AlanShipnuck): Sure -- the guy is a proven commodity and confidence is huge going into the Cup. Who's playing better?

Joe Passov, senior editor, Golf Magazine (@joepassov): Why not pick him? He hasn't been the same Hunter Mahan in the past 18 months or so, but he's clearly hot. He beat a great field of Ryder Cuppers and has plenty of history in international team competitions.

2. During the CBS broadcast of The Barclays, David Feherty said that people always ask him what’s the best place in the world to play golf and his answer is the New York metropolitan area. Do you agree? If not, what’s your choice?

PASSOV: The parklanders around Westchester County combine with Long Island's linksy masterpieces to form a powerful combo. Still, I'll take the Monterey Peninsula, Southwest Ireland, Bandon Dunes (on a smaller scale) and the Australian Sandbelt courses around Melbourne.

SHIPNUCK: Well, virtually every track he is referring to is private except Bethpage, and they're pretty spread out geographically and hours from NYC, so it's not much of a destination unless you're in the 1 percent of the 1 percent and have your own helicopter and access to these courses. But if we're including private tracks, it's not even the best part of New York -- Long Island has prettier, more fun and more dramatic courses. Anyway, I'd rather go to the Monterey Peninsula, or Bandon, or southwest Ireland or St. Andrews or the Sandbelt outside Melbourne.

MORFIT: I like Northern Michigan in the summer, when the sun almost never sets and you can find a ridiculous over-supply of good courses. My favorite: underrated Belvedere.

SENS: Sure, if you're David Feherty and you enjoy ready access to the New York area's peachy concentration of private courses. But that doesn't apply to the vast majority of us. If you measure by what matters -- not just quality but also access and affordability -- I can think of a number of metropolitan areas that are worlds better for most golfers than New York. Minneapolis. Portland. Phoenix. Orlando. Even L.A. Unless you've got friends at Ridgewood (and Winged Foot, and Shinnecock and so forth) on speed-dial, as Feherty surely does, or you live across the street from Bethpage, New York is not an especially golf-rich place.

VAN SICKLE: Feherty is only right if you're a TV golf celebrity and can invite yourself onto any private club in the country, as he can. There are a lot of great clubs in the New York area, but they're mostly very private. You want to show up uninvited to play Garden City or Westchester or Century Club, good luck. Other than Bethpage, the public golf is below average.

BAMBERGER: If he includes the East End of Long Island, yes.

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