Every Sunday night, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group conducts an e-mail roundtable. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.
1. Did Justin Rose win the U.S. Open, or did Phil Mickelson lose it?
Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Justin Rose won it this time. His ballstriking was superior to Phil's and everyone else's. Take Phil's hole-out at the 10th away and he's not all that close. Phil didn't lose it, but he didn't go out and win it. Justin did that.
Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: Justin Rose won the Open today. You don't shoot even par in the final round and back into anything. That said, Phil lost the Open on Friday and Saturday with all of those missed opportunities. He should have been five or six clear of the field when he stepped to the first tee today.
Stephanie Wei, WeiUnderPar.com: Justin Rose won it. Phil lost it with those double-bogeys on the front nine and he didn't take advantage of the momentum from the eagle. Everyone is going to make mistakes at the U.S. Open, but Rose did the best job minimizing his. Wasn't sure how he'd handle the pressure coming down the stretch. Rose could've *easily* thrown it away in those closing holes, but he put on a very gutsy performance. He stood up on the 18th and just piped it, then channeled his inner Ben Hogan on that second shot. He deserves all the credit in the world for that win.
Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: Rose won it. He hit the shots and made the putts. Played the best down the stretch.
Joe Passov, senior editor, travel, Golf Magazine: It pains me to say it, but Rose won it, because historically, this tournament goes to the player who makes the fewest mistakes -- and that was Rose on Sunday. Gosh, though, the trophy was right there on a platter for Phil -- but two awful wedges, shoved tee shots and (barely) missed putts makes you wonder, "what if?"
Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Golf.com: Rose won it. He made clutch birdies on 12 and 13, and his pars on 17 and 18 were even better. This is heartbreaking for Phil -- I think he used that word at least five times in his post-round press conference -- but he didn't cough this one up. Rose was simply the better player on Sunday.
Ryan Reiterman, senior producer, Golf.com: You shoot even par on Sunday of the U.S. Open, you win it. Mickelson was never in control of the tournament enough to suggest that he handed it to Rose.
2. Looking at the other names on the leaderboard (Mahan, Donald, Stricker, Schwartzel, Horschel) was Rose as deserving of the win, more deserving or less, both from a career perspective and from how he played today?
Van Sickle: It's hard to say Mahan deserved it when he chopped it up on the last four holes. The other guys all fumbled it away early. Rose put up five birdies, a heck of a number at Merion today. The next most deserving might've been Jason Day. He showed me something on the back nine. He's got a lot of years ahead of him to win some majors and he will.
Passov: In terms of how he played, Rose was deserving. He didn't "luck" into anything, and his clutch play at 18 makes him a worthy winner. But it wasn't like we were all sitting around questioning, "When is Justin Rose finally going to win a major?" He was a solid, but not great No. 3 in the world after Bay Hill, and No. 5 coming in to the U.S. Open --without a ton of wins. He's been in the hunt early in many majors, but seldom with three holes to go. I would have rather seen Stricker, Mahan and Donald ahead of Rose and it would have been great to see Golf House ask for Horschel's trousers had he grabbed the title.
Ritter: Rose was due to get a major at some point. He had already won four times on Tour, with more success internationally, and of course he beat Mickelson head-to-head in that epic Ryder Cup singles match last year. That's a pretty solid pedigree. I thought heading into the day that if it wasn't Rose or Phil, it might be Schwartzel, who always seems so unflappable. I was surprised to see him come apart on Sunday.
Wei: It was rough to see Steve Stricker make an 8 early in the round. I think he really deserved it from a career perspective given how he's had a wonderful career yet hasn't broken through at a major. This was probably one of his last chances. Schwartzel already has a major and Donald and Mahan have had comparable records, but Rose was the only one to step up and win it.
Godich: Career accomplishments have nothing to do with this. On a crowded leaderboard, Rose simply played better than anybody. He's a deserving (and humble) champion.
Reiterman: Rose is without a doubt a deserving champion. He'd only won four times on the PGA Tour prior to his victory at Merion, but talk about four handsome trophies -- Memorial, AT&T National, BMW and Doral.
Gorant: Totally deserving. He's had a good career, with some really good wins, and he took the hard road after being pronounced a phenom at 17. He had to go out and learn to be a pro, a transition a lot early risers never make.