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.
TIGER WINS AT&T NATIONAL
David Dusek, deputy editor, Golf.com: Greetings one and all, and welcome back to PGA Tour Confidential. The last time we watched golf at Congressional Country Club, Rory McIlroy won the 2011 U.S. Open in record-setting fashion. This time around, it was Tiger Woods winning the 2012 AT&T National to earn his 74th PGA Tour win and pass Jack Nicklaus. Asking whether or not Tiger Woods is "back" seems like a pointless exercise, but with three big wins, is he now player of the year?
Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Tiger doesn't have a major, but nobody else has three wins. I can't see voting for Bubba Watson -- he's all but vanished since winning the Masters. And Webb Simpson was invisible before his U.S. Open triumph. I'd probably have to give Tiger the nod if voting started now.
Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: Three wins make a great season for anyone, even Tiger at this point, so yes, he's the leader in the clubhouse for POY in my book. All bets are off if Watson or Simpson equals TW's win total.
Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: Agreed. And don't forget Dufner, who has two wins, a runner-up and a fourth-place finish at the U.S. Open.
Rick Lipsey, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: No doubt, but it's POY with an asterisk because it's a majorless year -- so far.
Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Golf.com: If the vote were happening now, you'd have to give it to Tiger. But if Dufner wins the PGA, or Mahan wins the British ...
Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: For the moment, it's Tiger. Lots of golf left though. Tiger's first two wins came two weeks before a major. He's playing the Greenbrier this week, two weeks before the British.
Damon Hack, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: He'd rather have a major, but Tiger is the player of the year so far.
Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Tiger is player of the half-year, but it means nothing to him, and I don't think the three Tour wins mean all that much to him, either, except for what they do to get him in position to win majors again. Two more majors this year. Couldn't be more fun.
Gorant: I don't know. When Feherty said he was now second in all-time Tour wins, Tiger produced a big, very pleased smile. The wins themselves may not give him too much juice, but those sorts of milestones mean something to him.
Lipsey: Watch out, folks. After about 28 abysmal and winless months, Woods has three wins in his last seven starts. He could be back to playing player-of-the-millennium golf.
Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: What meant the most to Tiger, I'd guess, is that he won at a Congo that played more like a major course than the Congo of June 2011, when that other "next Tiger" won. (What was his name again?) Maybe the next Tiger is ... Tiger.
Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: He's certainly POY so far, but even for Tiger 3.0, a year without a major is not a success. The British and PGA will determine how we (and he) view this season.
John Garrity, contributing writer, Sports Illustrated: Declaring Tiger "back" or "not back" may be a pointless exercise, but it's been a full-time job for most of us. My Tour Tempo co-author, John Novosel, declared Tiger "back" at the U.S. Open because Tiger was swinging with consistent tempo again. Same thing this week. So I say the Cat is Back and yeah, he's POY.
Stephanie Wei, contributor, SI Golf+: Tiger's player of the year so far -- three wins in seven starts. OK, he needs that major, but winning any tournament is hard.
Tell us what you think in the comments section below: If you're voting today, is Tiger player of the year?
WILL TIGER GET TO 15 IN ENGLAND?
Dusek: Tiger won at Bay Hill, and lots of people thought he would win the Masters. Then he won Memorial, and many folks thought he'd win at Olympic. Where do you stand on Tiger's chances at Royal Lytham and St. Annes?
Godich: He has to be the favorite. Ride the hot horse. Of course, I said that after Bay Hill and the Memorial.
Lipsey: On paper, he's a clear favorite. I have a hunch, though, that his mental major-itis could resurface.
Ryan Reiterman, senior producer, Golf.com: I don't buy for a second that Woods has some mental block at the majors. I think his new swing just hasn't been ready for 72 holes on a major championship course. He's obviously proven it can hold up at regular events; it's only a matter of time before he goes on another big run at the majors.
Herre: It looks like driver is the only club that TW is not hitting consistently, and he probably won't need it much at Lytham. Also, his putting seems to be improving, so I like his chances to notch No. 15. (Although I liked him in the U.S. Open, too.)
Bamberger: Tiger's chances at Lytham are outstanding. It's like Hoylake -- like all British Open golf, really -- but it's a course where golfing intelligence and controlled irons will carry the day. Watson was so dominant in the Open because of his golfing smarts. Tiger's right there with him.
Van Sickle: Let's say for the sake of argument that Tiger isn't the favorite at Lytham? Then who is? Tiger is the default favorite for all majors. No reason he can't win there. But his failures at the Maters and Olympic Club were troubling.
Gorant: Those bouncy links courses bring a lot of people (and luck) into it, but they tend to reward ballstrking more than putting, which seems to match pretty well with what Tiger's got going on right now.
Morfit: I refuse to make Woods the favorite for Royal Lytham & St. Annes. He tied for 22nd there in 1996 as an amateur, and for 25th in 2001. Like any British Open, so much will depend on the weather.
Garrity: Lytham sets up beautifully for Tiger's resurrected game. But that's beside the point. If he keeps hitting the ball like this, he'll be the favorite anywhere he plays.
Hack: If Lytham is dry and running, as Paddy Harrington said it was during the Nelson, then Tiger can try to Hoylake his way around.
Shipnuck: It's a good ballpark for him because he can hit a bunch of 2-irons off the tee. These courses always set up well for him.
Mick Rouse, Golf.com contributor: For Tiger to win, I think it's going to be more of a mental struggle. If he pulls it out at the Open, though, the momentum we are seeing could hit the stratosphere.
Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Is Tiger the British Open favorite?