Tour Confidential: Is Rory McIlroy the new favorite to win the Masters?

Lexi Thompson, Michelle Wie
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Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie walk toward the 18th green during the final round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

5. What impressed you the most at the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship -- Lexi Thompson's dominance or Michelle Wie's resilience?

LYNCH: Thompson's aggressive, flawless play was the highlight of the weekend. It's tempting to note that her performance in the final round of a major is what was long expected of Wie, but never delivered. Yet being armed with a Stanford degree and a seemingly balanced outlook on life isn't a bad place for Wie to be at just 24. If she can ever overcome her putting issues, she'll have a long, trophy-filled career.

VAN SICKLE: I'm impressed that Michelle Wie can practice putting bent over like that for any length of time without needing a back brace. It looks painful. Good for her for making a run at a major. She has star power that the LPGA could really use.

MORFIT: Lexi. Pretty strong stuff at that age. Let's see Jordan Spieth top that. Nice sportsmanship by Wie, who hit some great shots out there, too.

RITTER: It was nice to see Wie get in the mix, but you have to hand it to Lexi: bogey-free in the final round while going head-to-head with the highest-wattage star in women's golf. Lexi just completed the final step from star-in-the-making to dominant force. Wouldn't be surprised at all to see her grab another major or two this year.

GODICH: Let's give Lexi her due. That was an impressive round (and week) of golf. Sadly, it's an indictment of Wie that we have resorted to commenting on her resiliency in the face of defeat. This could have been her week. She just ran into a buzz saw.

SENS: Wie. Thompson has always been a world-beating talent, slowed mostly by a temperamental putter. It's no shock to see her win. But Wie … all we hear about her is how she's lost the love and missed her window, so having her contend was a sweet surprise.

PASSOV: All credit to Lexi. Mission Hills is a tough driving course, and she put her driver in play often enough to dominate. It's easy to criticize Wie for hitting so many of those 3-wood stingers into safe positions, but that's what got her in position to win in the first place, so credit to her for sticking to her game plan. The problem is that when your opponent is outdriving you on every hole, it adds pressure to every approach. Wie didn't choke, or play poorly, she just couldn't compete with a longer, better player on this day.

BAMBERGER: Lexi, winning a big event by a big margin. Only the thoroughbreds do that. Jones, Wright, Nicklaus, Woods. Welcome to the club, Lexi.

6. Augusta National hosted its inaugural "Drive, Pitch and Putt" contest on Sunday. Nine-year-old Kelly Xu was the first youngster to win her age division, making her the first female champ to be crowned at Augusta. There's a lot of talk about what the Tour and its administrators need to do to "grow the game," but how can golf's top clubs do their part?

BAMBERGER: Follow the lead of National Golf Links and Seminole and Merion by hosting Walker Cups and other competitions. Promote caddying as an ideal job for young people trying to learn the game. Raise money by opening the clubs a couple times a year to paying outsiders and use that can money for golf initiatives like teaching the game in to phys-ed classes. Also, people who are lucky to belong to nice clubs should make sure they play public golf a few times a year, to be reminded of how the vast majority of golfers play the game.

MORFIT: Augusta National and the game's governing bodies did a smart thing here, and the smartest part about it was that it was televised. You can't overstate the impact of TV on kids especially, and if it looks like fun, then those kids will get their parents to set them up with clubs and lessons. The most excited I've seen my daughter get about golf was when we watched "The Short Game" documentary that showed a similar kids' event at Pinehurst.

GODICH: Try as they might, the folks at Augusta National aren't going to grow the game with a five-hour Sunday morning exhibition. We need to start by making golf more affordable, speeding up play and making courses easier.

VAN SICKLE: Forget the clubs. They're too often about profit-and-loss statements. To grow the game, every golfer out there needs to bring one more person into the game -- a kid, a spouse, a relative or a friend. That would be a huge start.

PASSOV: We keep asking this question every year, usually at the PGA Merchandise Show. There seems to be many answers and few solutions. We know golf takes too much time, it's too expensive and there aren't enough facilities for juniors of modest means to develop their games. Figure out a way to transform some acreage into low-priced, six- or nine-hole courses, with a paucity of hazards, so that they can be played quickly, and you'll see more participation. That said, the chance to compete at Augusta National, on television, is fantastic. Kudos to the poo-bahs at Augusta National, the USGA and the PGA of America for making this happen. "Drive, Pitch and Putt" provides genuine incentive for kids to participate and improve.

SENS: They could go public. But since the majority of "top clubs" in this country build their identities around exclusivity, not inclusiveness, that's not going to happen. But I know we're playing make believe and pretending that these clubs really are 100 percent committed to growing the game. So in the meantime, they could increase funding for junior caddie programs and allow greater access to local junior golfers, even if it's just to their practice facilities.

RITTER: The event was extremely cool and kudos to Augusta for staging it -- a new tradition is born. Private clubs have a right to make their own rules, but they can certainly play a part in golf's growth movement simply by being more inclusive. ANGC, as the most high-profile club on the planet, has the power to start trends. Hopefully we just saw the start of another one, as similar contests would work at the local level at clubs around the world.

LYNCH: Most clubs could start by putting as much thought into making the game fun as they do into compiling frequently arcane, scolding regulations that often exist only to appease a rump of members who have one foot in the grave. Throw open the doors once in a while to junior camps and events. Sunday's DC&P was a welcome reminder that even usually austere clubs can loosen the tie and play a vital part in exposing kids to the game.

The Tour Confidential roundtable continues Monday on our new weekly show hosted by Jessica Marksbury. Tweet her your questions @Jess_Marksbury.

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