STABLEFORD VS. STROKE-PLAY
Garrity: Akron had the world-class field, but my heart was at the Renoe-Tahoe Open, won by J.J. Henry. That's because Reno-Tahoe adopted the modified Stableford scoring system championed by the late, lamented INTERNATIONAL tournament. Do you share my belief that a variety of scoring formats would inject some life and levity into run-of-the-mill Tour events? Or are you a stroke-play purist?
Bamberger: I would like to see combo platters. Five days, seven rounds, medal to qualify and seed for weekend match play.
Reiterman: Now that's something I would pay to see!
Godich: I like the variety. I only wish they wouldn't do it in a tournament opposite a WGC event.
Garrity: I'd like them to do it IN a WGC event. I'd also like to see one of those "reverse scrambles" where you have to play the worst shot instead of your best.
Shipnuck: I like the Stableford...once a year. Ditto match play. I would love to see a two-man team event (Byron Nelson's win at the Four-Ball is part of his 11 in a row) and also a mixed team thing with LPGA players. The Tour needs more variety, but in moderation.
Van Sickle: I'm OK with one, maybe two Stableford events. The Tour could stand some variety, especially at a conflicting smaller event like Reno. I wouldn't mind an alternate-shot two-man team event, either.
Dusek: Stableford and match play are welcome breaks from the monotony of stroke play. That said, I don't need them every week.
Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Would you like to see more events use Stableford scoring?
GOLFERS AMONG GREATEST ATHLETES?
Garrity: Getting back to the five-ring circus, some are calling Michael Phelps "the greatest athlete of all time" for his Olympics accomplishments. This infuriates the fans of Michael Jordan, Pele, Bo Jackson, Muhammad Ali, Dave DeBusschere or any decathlon champ you care to -- or are able to -- name. How about golfers? Should Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus or Bobby Jones be part of the conversation?
Bamberger: Tiger and Jack, yes. Swimming is a great sport and Phelps is off-the-charts, but it uses one basic skill set. Other sports require more and are harder to dominate.
Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: I think golf doesn't get enough credit for the athleticism required: body control, flexibility, balance, hand-eye coordination, even explosion. That said, I don't think top golfers match top players in some other sports in pure athleticism.
Shipnuck: Tiger and Jack have to be in the conversation. Tiger has a stronger case; for 12 years he dominated his sport like no other athlete ever has. Nicklaus's legacy is built on longevity and consistent excellence, but he never lorded over the competition like Tiger did.
Godich: That consistent excellence includes 18 runner-up finishes in majors. Not to mention the nine thirds and the 18 other top-fives. Hard to overlook that.
Shipnuck: Right. How about this: Jack is the greatest golfer of all time (bonus points for class and sportsmanship), but Tiger is the most dominant athlete ever.
Dusek: The whole idea of "greatest athlete" is a little silly. Tiger is a wonderful athlete, and Nicklaus was too. Swimmers are in amazing shape and Phelps dominated, but all athletes have to specialize their bodies to suit their demands. For pure athleticism, NBA basketball players are damn impressive, but I've always admired triathletes, cross country skiers and rowers above everyone else.
Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Should the greatest golfers be in the conversation with the greatest athletes ever?
COUNTDOWN TO RIO
Garrity: I'll end with a reminder that golf and the Olympics will be reunited in 2016, when the Games fly on down to Rio. Are you fired up about it? Or are you bummed because there will be no gold medals for long-drive or 4-foot-sidehill putts?
Bamberger: Golf represents everything the Olympics are supposed to be and are not. I wish it were an amateur competition. That would show them.
Godich: Or why not have a qualifying tournament? No free passes. Let's see who really wants to be there.
Wei: The past week has definitely gotten me pumped up for Rio, but I'm concerned about the format. Seventy-two-hole medal play? Snore. I'd like to see more of a team component.
Shipnuck: The format is uninspired, the qualifying criteria somewhat nonsensical, they'll probably be sodding the course the day of the Opening Ceremony, but I'm very excited. A global sport like golf is badly marginalized by its exclusion from the Olympics, and this will certainly grow the game.
Ritter: Impossible not to watch the London Games this week without getting pumped for Rio. Golf boasts some of the world's best sportsmen, greatest athletes and -- even if it's a stock 72-hole tournament -- the potential for creating Olympic-worthy drama and unforgettable moments. Regardless of the competitive format that's ultimately chosen, it will be great for golf to be included in the Games.
Wei: A team format would create way more drama. Think about the excitement and the intensity that the Ryder Cup creates. Add that to the buzz of the Olympics and it's a major win.
Van Sickle: The Olympics will be a pseudo tournament. Only 60 players in field, probably 30 of them outside the top 100 in the world rankings. Track and swimming have heats to thin the fields. That's what Olympic golf needs instead of a watered-down field to start with. This should've been a three- or four-person team event, not an individual event. But you never know. They might even get that course in Brazil built in time to play on it.
Godich: How about this for a team event: One man and one woman. Three teams per country. Two days of better ball, a day each of alternate-shot and scramble.
Dusek: I'm sure I will be excited when the time comes, but the Olympic events I have always enjoyed most are the sports for which the pinnacle is an Olympic medal. No one is standing on a practice green tonight dreaming of winning a gold medal in golf, but I bet some 10-year-olds are dreaming of being Michael Phelps.
Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Are you fired up to see Olympic golf in Rio?