Every week of the 2011 PGA Tour season, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group will conduct an e-mail roundtable. Check in on Mondays for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.
FEDEX CUP PREDICTIONS
Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: The last two events in the FedEx Cup are coming up, starting with the BMW in Chicago this week. Any predictions?
Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: I was surprised to hear mild-mannered Midwesterner Steve Stricker trash Cog Hill. He must REALLY hate Rees Jones's renovation to be so candid with his criticism.
Gorant: Trashing Rees has almost become a sport in itself. Seems like whenever they play a Jones course these days it's a race to the nearest tape recorder to have at it. Maybe one of these days Geoff Shackelford will get his big shot.
Rick Lipsey, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: A pro who teaches at Cog Hill gave me a similarly unflattering review of the new layout.
David Dusek, deputy editor, Golf.com: It seems like every time we get to this point with Phil Mickelson -- close to writing him off as too analytic, too inconsistent -- he surprises us with stunning golf like he played in Houston this year. With a week off to practice with that belly putter, I wouldn't be shocked if Phil has a really, really good week in Chicago.
Ryan Reiterman, senior producer, Golf.com: Only that it's going to unpredictable like pretty much everything in the AT 2.0 (After Tiger 2.0) era. However I would be surprised if Steve Stricker doesn't play himself in the mix in one of the last two events.
Herre: I predict that someone using a belly putter will win.
Gorant: Good call, but I'm with D.J. Although I'm not sure if that's a wish or a prediction.
Mike Walker, senior editor, Golf Magazine: It will be interesting to see how the belly/long putters fare these next two weeks. If Adam Scott, Webb Simpson or Phil Mickelson takes home $10 million, then it will be like "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." The long putters will instantly be everywhere.
Gorant: What about the whole thing, who do you like to take home the $10 mil in Atlanta?
Dusek: My head tells me Dustin Johnson should overpower East Lake, but I still have trouble picking him. I'll be fascinated to see what the off-week does to Webb Simpson. Hot players want to keep playing, so how is he going to handle the spotlight that comes with being in contention to win $10 million? We know what we'll get from Luke Donald and Matt Kuchar.
Herre: Total long shot, but I'm gonna say Matt Kuchar, this year's version of 2010 winner Jim Furyk. From start to finish, Kuchar may have had the most consistent season of anyone. All that's missing is a win.
Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: I'll take Webb Simpson. He's atop the standings, he's won twice in the last month, he has a slew of top 10s. Plus, the way this season has gone, we'll have first-time winners in the last two events.
Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I'll predict that the awards ceremony will be awkward as there will be two different champions -- the Tour Championship winner and the FedEx Cup winner. And the Tour Championship winner will get short shrift. How many people -- even us golf watchers -- can even name the top five in the FedEx points list? That's still a problem.
Lipsey: Does it really matter? I'll revert back to the old and trusty Ice Capades analogy, but in a positive way. The FedEx Cup is like an a series of all-star games. It doesn't really matter who's contending. Fans just know it's big-time guys competing for big-time cash, and that in itself is a big-time draw.