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PGA Tour Confidential: Luke Donald reclaims No. 1 ranking at Transitions Championship

Luke Donald, 2012 Transitions Championship
David Walberg / SI
Luke Donald won the Transitions Championship to end Rory McIlroy's two-week reign at No. 1.

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 our all-new live Readers' Confidential or in the comments section below.

Mike Walker, senior editor, Golf Magazine: Forget college basketball, the PGA Tour has madness almost every week. Luke Donald won the Transitions Championship on Sunday, beating Robert Garrigus, Sang-Moon Bae and Jim Furyk in a four-way playoff. After a slow start to the year, Donald has now taken back the No. 1 ranking from an idle Rory McIlroy after just two weeks. Who is going to spend more time at No. 1 this year, Donald or McIlroy, and why?

Damon Hack, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: McIlroy, because he plays better in the biggest events.

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Rory. He's a better player who will play better in the hardest events.

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Rory, because if they have the same year, Luke loses more points from all of last year's wins and top 10s.

Charlie Hanger, executive editor, I'll be the contrarian who says Luke. I think he's less likely to win a major, but he's crazy consistent.

Rick Lipsey, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: Donald. I think he's got some serious drive, much more than might appear, and the talent to channel that drive into victories.

David Dusek, deputy editor, Rory, because he's going to win two majors, and Luke is only going to win one.

Mick Rouse, editorial assistant, SI Golf Group: Rory. When he's not winning, he's sure to be in the top 10.

Bamberger: Don't agree. He's not yet a bad-weather player. It ain't all sunshine out there, though it seems otherwise so far this year.

Stephanie Wei, contributor, SI Golf+: Rory, because he's more talented, and he'll win the Masters and at least one other major, and he won't finish out of the top 10.

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I'll go with Luke. I think he still has a significant edge with his putting. I wouldn't be surprised if this was the year Rory made a quantum leap with his stroke and proved me wrong. But with Luke's consistency, he's a tough guy to stay ahead of.

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Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: I'll take Rory. He has shown Luke-like consistency over the past few months, and he has more talent. Plus, he didn't even flinch when Tiger was breathing down his neck at the Honda, which will give him a ton of confidence. Like he needed more of that.

Tell us what you think in the all-new readers' live Confidential or in the comments section below: Who will spend more time at No. 1 this year: Donald or McIlroy?

Walker: Maybe Ponce De Leon should have looked north of Tampa for the Fountain of Youth. The 40-and-over crowd played well at the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook. Ernie Els and Jim Furyk were in contention Sunday, and Retief Goosen and Padraig Harrington posted some good rounds earlier in the week. Of these four major winners, who's most likely to have a late-career revival, and why?

Shipnuck: How about none of the above? They all look like they're out of gas.

Lipsey: None. Sadly, they all seem to be fading, and fast. Watching Els yip that putt at 18 was awful.

Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: Out of the four, I'd pick Furyk. It seems like he still has something to prove.

Bamberger: Paddy. He's the most golf-nerdy.

Wei: Maybe TOO golf-nerdy, though. He gets in his own way.

Hack: Tough to forecast a revival for any of the four, but maybe they'll have a flourish here or there. Paddy's 61 opened my eyes. Of the four, in order, I'd go Paddy, Furyk, Els and Goose.

Dusek: None of them. Not to be a total downer, but Ernie has some serious putting issues to deal with, as evidenced by that miss on 18 Sunday. Retief hasn't put together four solid rounds in a long time, and neither has Padraig, who is a great guy but hasn't shown a lick of consistency in years. As for Furyk, I've always thought of him as the consummate grinder, but I wonder how long you can play that way. I just don't see him winning on a regular basis again.

Godich: Agree on Furyk. He eagled the first hole today and played the last 17 in even par on a day when a lot of guys were going low.

Van Sickle: Harrington told a Scottish writer before the tournament that he was ready to win again. He looked like it for a day. Furyk, however, is back from a U-turn with his equipment last year, and he looks as tough as ever. Furyk said he feels great about his game, and he's got some tourneys coming up, like Hilton Head, that he loves to play.

Rouse: If I had to pick one, probably Furyk, but I'm not convinced any of them can be in contention week after week with all the young talent out there.

Wei: I think Ernie. He's getting close. When he finds his putting stroke, he'll be in the winner's circle. But it was painful to watch him miss those putts in the last few holes.

Gorant: Unfortunately that comment could have been lifted from 2006.

Shipnuck: Ernie is never going to find his putting stroke. It's long gone.

Godich: Ernie's not finding that stroke. The misses at 16 and 18 said it all. This was his week to break through. He will be the first to tell you that he blew it.

Van Sickle: And the last time somebody found his putting stroke in his early 40s after losing it five years earlier was... ?

Wei: Well, Phil really struggled with his putting last year and seems to have found it again. What can I say? I've got a soft spot for Ernie. I can't help but believe.

Tell us what you think in the all-new readers' live Confidential or in the comments section below: Who's most likely to regain his form: Els, Goosen, Furyk or Harrington?

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