3. Tiger Woods says his elbow is fine and he's ready to go. He also says the key at Muirfield will be to stay out of the rough, which, left unsaid, could re-injure the elbow. What’s the more likely result for Tiger this week: A win, a missed cut or a WD?
JIMMY WALKER: Tiger is Tiger. I don't think we have gotten a candid response in a while. Who knows how he is doing? Only him. I hope he is fine and he shows up ready to play.
SHIPNUCK: Of those three options, a win. I don't see Tiger missing the cut or withdrawing, but I don't see him winning either. He'll probably grind out a backdoor top 10 and say he's close.
VAN SICKLE: Tiger has a history of thinking he's Superman and pushing through injuries. He's surely learned now that he isn't. Still, it's hard not to be concerned about his elbow. Maybe that'll give him incentive to hit every fairway. A missed cut may be the most likely of those three options but I wouldn't rule out a win. Muirfield's history is one of identifying the game's best player of the day. That's been Tiger until recently.
GODICH: Well, I don't see Tiger missing the cut and I don't see him winning, so I guess I have to take the WD by default. That said, he'll be smart when he plays shots out of the hay.
MIKE WALKER: Win is the most likely. As wise as he says he is about injuries now, if Tiger thinks he can win this Open, he’ll play with one arm.
PASSOV: A win. Now there's a guy who knows how to prepare for a major. With firm and fast conditions expected, he can hit all of his bunt shots and stay out of trouble.
RITTER: I just don't see Tiger ending his major drought now after a month away from competition. Almost feels like the planets have aligned for another lost major. He'll play through the pain, but an MC seems more likely than a win.
BAMBERGER: Well, to take the choices literally, a win. He's won 14 majors. He has, what, not even a handful of WDs and MCs in all 60+ majors in which he has played.
4. There is approximately zero conversation about Rory McIlroy's prospects for contending in or winning the upcoming Open. Would you be extremely surprised, somewhat surprised or not at all surprised to see Rory rediscover his game at Muirfield?
JIMMY WALKER: I walked by Rory yesterday -- man, it seems he is getting thicker. Working out more? Not sure. I don't follow him much except that he signed a very large new contract. That is a lot to live up to. To me it's funny hearing people say, "Can you believe he did that?" I always say, "Yes, I can." He couldn't pass it up, and you wouldn't either. I think Rory will be all right. He has accomplished a lot very early and fast. He has a lot of pressure on him and I think he is still growing up. It would be good for golf for him to show up strong at Open.
VAN SICKLE: Rory has had time to get away from it all and regroup. I can't think of many players who have been able to put out two fires at once -- the driver and the putter. So despite the last three years when he's looked like the game's new boy king, I won't be surprised if he doesn't contend. Also, Muirfield is nothing like the sprawling, soft courses he won his first two majors on.
BAMBERGER: I would not be at all surprised to see Rory contend or even win. Like the song says, it's just a shot away.
SHIPNUCK: Somewhat, given how lost he has looked. But we all know Rory is flammable and one of these weeks he's gonna find his old Dorm. It would be great for him and the game if it happens at Muirfield. But I'm not counting on it.
GODICH: The lack of chatter might be just what Rory needs, so I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him turn it around. Let's not forget this is the guy who imploded at the Masters in 2011, then won in a romp at the U.S. Open at Congressional.
MIKE WALKER: Even in the best of times, exacting Muirfield would really test McIlroy’s game. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him play well, but would be shocked to see him in final group on Sunday.
PASSOV: Extremely surprised. Sure, many veterans seem to rediscover the magic once they get to a site and get in the hunt (see “Crenshaw, Ben” and “Els, Ernie”), but there seems to be no positive mojo surrounding Rory and his game right now. He did turn it around last summer in eye-blink fashion, but even with benign weather, the Open is the least likely event to see a Rory recovery, given his lack of love for less-than-optimum conditions. He's the anti-Tom Watson.