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PGA Tour Confidential: The New Big Four, A Royal Portrush PGA Championship and the Best Hole in Golf

Henrik Stenson
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Henrik Stenson is the first golfer to win the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup and the European Tour's Race to Dubai in the same season.

Every Sunday night, Golf.com conducts an e-mail roundtable with writers from Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

1. Henrik Stenson crushed the field to win the World Tour Championship and the European Tour's Race to Dubai, becoming the first player ever to win both of those events and the PGA’s Tour Championship and FedEx Cup in the same year. Adam Scott won back-to-back Aussie majors, capturing the Australian Masters by two over Matt Kuchar at Royal Melbourne. Now who's had the best 2013: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Stenson or Scott? And who's your No. 1 in the world right this minute?


Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Right this minute? Adam Scott. He was playing great in April and he's playing great now and he played beautifully in between. He's getting it done with a putting stroke that is legal only for now and he cannot really know for sure what life will be like without it, which surely adds to the pressure. He gets to go back to Augusta for the rest of his life. What's not to like?

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@AlanShipnuck): Adam Scott is the answer to both questions. To prevail on Augusta National and Royal Melbourne in the same year is about as epic as it gets. Stenson has been unreal since the late summer -- the only reason Scott gets the nod is that the Stense didn't win a major in 2013. But he did pretty much everything else.

Josh Sens, contributing writer, Golf Magazine (@JoshSens): Tiger's five wins still give him the season edge, but if I had to pick one guy to win a big event right now, I'd go with the guy with the putter that makes him look like a guy sweeping his front stoop. Scott is my man.

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine (@CameronMorfit): I would put Stenson-Scott at one-two. Stenson is especially intriguing now because he's done so much of his damage so late in the year. Both guys should be lobbying for the 2014 Masters to start tomorrow. As for who had the best year, start-to-finish, you probably have to at least consider giving a slight edge to Scott. If not, why do they even bother playing in Australia?

Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Golf.com (@Jeff_Ritter): Tiger deserved to be PGA Tour Player of the year on the strength of those five wins, but as has been said before in this panel, he'd probably trade his year straight up for Phil's or Adam's. Tiger is still No. 1 until we get all the big guns together in the same field, and it does already feel like Woods, Phil, Scott and Stenson are on a collision course for the Masters. It can't get here fast enough.

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@GaryVanSickle): Stenson's big checks are impressive but I'd take Adam Scott's year -- one official major and two titles in his home country that are majors to Aussies. I suppose Tiger is still No. 1, but Scott has to be a suddenly close second now.

Joe Passov, senior editor, courses and travel, Golf Magazine (@joepassov): Stenson had the greatest second half of a year in memory. Tiger had the best 2013 of all by winning five times on Earth's toughest tour. Phil is my player of the year -- and Adam Scott is my No. 1 right this minute. I can't fence-straddle any better than that.

2. Not so long ago, Henrik Stenson was in golf oblivion. Where does his return to form rank in the history of golf comebacks?


MORFIT: His comeback has now pulled ahead of Stricker's by a driver yip or two. And don't forget about Westwood, who may have been almost as much of a basket case as Stricker. Oh, and Michael Campbell is plenty rested and ready for his U.S. Open title defense at Pinehurst No. 2. If Cambo makes a comeback from wherever he's been, it'll top even Stenson.

BAMBERGER: Sir Henrik ain't Hogan, but what he's doing is very, deeply impressive. I love the way he goes about his business.

SENS: Not as dramatic as Hogan's return from a car accident but possibly more impressive, given that Stenson's problems were in no small part between the ears. Not many golfers rehab fully from those kinds of woes.

VAN SICKLE: I remember chatting with Stenson about the little odds and ends in his bag for a magazine piece at Bay Hill after he'd just shot 81 or 83 or something. He couldn't have been nicer, but he did have a shell-shocked feel about him. It's got to be close to one of the better comebacks from poor play as opposed to an injury. I can't think of a better one at the moment.

RITTER: Stenson is a nice story, but Ben Hogan's comeback is in a class by itself. I'd place Tiger's comeback from injury/hydrant far above Henrik's, too. It's easy to forget that two years ago it looked like Woods' career might be toast.

PASSOV: He's still in the midst ... but Steve Stricker, Adam Scott and Lee Westwood had pretty astonishing comebacks as well. I might be partial to Scott Verplank, who sunk one year to finishing last on Tour in both driving distance AND driving accuracy -- and returned to be a consistent winner and Ryder Cup-type player.

SHIPNUCK: It's not quite in the territory of Ben Hogan vs. a bus, but it's pretty damn impressive.

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