Which do you cherish more: reaching No. 2 in the world or winning the U.S. Open?
Michael Montisano, 28, Dallas, Texas
Winning the Open. Making it to No. 2 is nice, but I play to win majors. That's the ultimate goal. No one will remember what I was ranked in 25 years, but they'll remember if I win a few U.S. Opens.
I'm a chef. What is your favorite meal, in case you ever come to my restaurant?
Anthony Franco, 54, Palm Beach, Fla.
To really pig out, Mexican: fresh guac, enchiladas, a little chile colorado, fresh tortillas and lots of chips and salsa. The salsa is key!
What goes through your mind when you stand over a putt, just before you hit it?
Samuel Lee, 38, Brooklyn, N.Y.
I think about the correct speed, and I forget everything else. When I stand over a putt, I've already read it, and I've already aimed. Now the only thing left is to hit it solid at the correct speed, because it can't go in unless it's the right speed. Typically, you don't three-putt because you hit it six feet left or right; it's because you left it six feet short or six feet long.
If 150 yards was the maximum distance a hole could be, how many majors would you have won?
Ruby Stathas, 32, Santa Fe, N.M.
More than one. I've never cracked the top 100 in driving distance, but it hasn't hurt me that much in majors. Power is more important in non-majors. Very few U.S. Opens, PGAs or British Opens are won because of length, apart from St. Andrews and Bethpage. Most majors are about getting the ball in play, working the ball left and right, and putting.
What's your favorite rock band?
Miles Laurance, 38, Milwaukee, Wis.
Hootie and the Blowfish. I like their music a lot.
Who's in your dream foursome?
Ajay Shekhar, 42, Medway, Mass.
Well, if I was in a dream, I wouldn't be playing golf. I'd be taking in a Steelers game. But I'd say Nelson Mandela, who I met at the Presidents Cup. Michael Jordan, too. And our 41st president (George H.W. Bush) was pretty cool. Maybe not the most exciting collection of guys, but it's my collection.
How do you know whether to go for a tucked pin on a par 3?
Scott Dunbar, 39, Ocean City, Md.
You weigh risk and reward. Ask yourself, "What's my percentage of pulling off this shot?" If you've got a 3-iron over water and the pin's tucked, your percentages aren't as good. If it's an 8-iron, you can be more aggressive. Also, the confidence you have in club selection is a huge factor. If you're between a 6- and 7-iron, that indecision is a big red flag. But sometimes you walk up and say, "It's a perfect 6 for me!" Unless I'm trailing and I need to make something happen, I ask myself, "What's the percentage play?" It's usually smarter to play for the fat of the green than to go pin-hunting with a 3-iron.
I started using your putting routine, where you stand over the ball, step out of it, and restart. I was putting great, but my friends made fun of me. Has anyone ever teased you about it?
Michael Buchanan, 44, Fredonia, NY
No. If I let things like that bother me, I never would have made the Tour with my swing. Mike, my advice is to get in their pocket. That will shut them up fast.
What cartoon character reminds you of yourself?
Vining Wolff, 36, Strathmore, Alberta, Canada
(Laughs) Well, I liked Tom and Jerry as a kid, and Tom was competitive, which I like. But he never won. So I'll go with Superman, for obvious reasons.