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 the comments section below.
PIERCY SCORES ONE FOR JOURNEYMEN
David Dusek, deputy editor, Golf.com: I wouldn't classify Robert Garrigus, William McGirt and Scott Piercy as a Murderers' Row, but clearly they've got some game. Piercy now has two PGA Tour wins. Forget the modern ball and equipment: Do you agree with the prevailing wisdom that says today's "journeymen" are better golfers than the middle-of-the-pack guys from 20, 30 and 40 years ago? Or does the lack of a dominant player (Woods, Nicklaus) just make it look like more guys are capable of winning on any given week?
Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Garrigus and Piercy are two of the top three bombers on Tour, so that sets them apart somewhat. Metal woods teach you to swing hard. Persimmon drivers taught you to hit the sweet spot or lose 20 or 30 yards in distance and send the ball way, way offline. No way to compare, really.
Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: No, I don't. Guys today play an entirely different game from the one that was played decades ago. Most everyone worked the ball back in the day. Not anymore. The older guys had way more shots than today's players -- journeymen on up.
Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: I'm not really in a position to make the comparison, but I will say that I suspect it's about the same. Different skill sets, but if you look through old lists of Tour winners, there are lots of guys you never heard of.
Rick Lipsey, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: Today's golfers, from journeymen to Tiger Woods, are almost all way more experienced, coached and trained than golfers of yesteryear. I caddied in Tour events for some of the old journeymen -- Ernie Gonzalez, Ted Schulz, Terry Snodgrass, to name a few -- and those guys didn't have the skill or the "I'm gonna take over the world" attitude that lower level players seem to have today. Heck, Nicklaus didn't get serious about golf until the age at which Tiger Woods was already hitting the New York Times front page.
Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Golf.com: I agree with Gary that it's hard to compare eras, especially when you factor equipment into the discussion. I think one of the strongest statistics that supports the case for parity today is the recent list of major champs: in the last 16 majors, we have 16 different winners. Several of those guys were journeymen until they won that first major (Oosthuizen, Yang, Glover, Cink). Come to think of it, some of them are still journeymen. So maybe today's middle-of-the-pack Tour pro is a little more dangerous than he used to be.
Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I don't know if today's players are better, but they are better prepared, with a team around them to help maximize their talent, and high-level competitive experience going back to the AJGA. No one learns to play on the PGA Tour anymore; they arrive as finished products.
Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I think they play a different game. They play smashmouth golf.
Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Are today's journeymen better players than ever before?
ELS MISSES CUT, EYES PGA
Dusek: Ernie Els shot 70-72 to miss the cut at the Canadian Open. Expectations this week couldn't have been too high after his win at Royal Lytham and St. Annes, but how long do you expect his hangover to last, and what are your expectations for the Big Easy as we head down the stretch of the 2012 season. Another W?
Van Sickle: Great question. I'd expect Ernie to be rested and ready for the PGA. He'd dearly love to win the career Grand Slam, and he hasn't won a PGA. He's definitely a contender there.
Lipsey: If Ernie gets some rest and recharges, he could win again, for sure. He's not going to be the next Darren "Disappearing Act" Clarke.
Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: At his age, it's all about the majors with Ernie. And with his ball-striking ability, I fully expect him to be right back in the hunt at the PGA.
Ritter: Agreed. Ernie's motivated and riding the wave. All he has to do is putt, and he should be right there at Kiawah.
Herre: Will be interesting to see which way Els goes. Seems like he has worked hard this year to get his game together. That work paid off at Lytham. Will he keep pushing? I hope so.
Gorant: I think Ernie's going to need another course with the kind of subtle greens they had at Lytham, so he's probably not going to do it at Kiawah. I could see him doing well at Bethpage, though.
Mick Rouse, Golf.com contributor: I wouldn't be shocked by another win, but I don't expect Ernie to catch fire and win more than once more this season. I'd say about four weeks of pitter-pattering until he makes another statement.
Shipnuck: He's certainly going to have a better 12 months than Clarke did after his Open victory. Els has always said his goal is a career Slam. I think he'll come strong for the next 2 to 3 years in an effort to snag those missing majors.
Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: I agree that Ernie will use his Open win as fuel. I don't count his Canadian Open missed cut. I'm more confident that he will be dangerous.
Tell us what you think in the comments section below: What do you expect from Els at the PGA? What about the rest of the season?