Every day this week for the British Open, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group will conduct an e-mail roundtable. Check in every morning for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below. Past Confidentials are here.
WILL STRICKER (OR PHIL, OR TIGER) MAKE A RUN AT ST. ANDREWS?
Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: Steve Stricker has been rounding into form nicely since returning from injury. Coming off the great win this week, what are his chances in Scotland, considering he'll be working on a short week with little time to adjust to the time and different style of golf? Note: A complete British Open preview edition of PGA Tour Confidential is here.
Damon Hack, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: He's definitely one to watch at St. Andrews. He finished T8 at Carnoustie in 2007 and had a chance to win until his misbehaving putter led to a 74 on Sunday. (He shot 64 on Saturday.)
David Dusek, deputy editor, Golf.com: Throwing darts in Illinois this weekend and shooting low scores has to boost his confidence, but the weather is going to turn nasty starting Monday afternoon. The wind is already here it was gusting over 50 miles per hour at times today. I think it's a lot to ask for him to be in top form here in St. Andrews.
Farrell Evans, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: Stricker will do well on the Old Course in his present form. He's a picker, and that's a good thing on the tightest-cut, hardest fairways in championship golf.
Dusek: I think his attitude and toughness, and his usually trusty putter, will be valuable tools at St. Andrews. But I think it's a big disadvantage to get to Scotland on Monday morning when many players are already here and scouting. Tiger, Phil and Padraig, for instance.
Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: Stricker will have to make some adjustments to contend at St. Andrews. The greens at TPC Deere Run were sponges, and even though Stricker doesn't spin the ball much, he was able to go for the pins. The greens at the Old Course will be firm if not fast. The great equalizer, of course, could be the putter. Stricker may be the best putter in the game.
Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: But if the wind is howling, doesn't that advantage on the greens go out the window?
Gorant: What do we make of Phil's chances this week? At Loch Lomond, he made a 9 on Friday to miss the weekend by one. His consolation prize was a full weekend to play some more links golf and get in a few spins around the Old Course. Did the missed cut actually help Phil?
Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Phil had forgotten about that 9 by the time he had his first sip at the Dunvegan on Friday night.
Morfit: The missed cut could help, but the weather will hurt big time if it's as awful as predicted. We may see a situation like the '09 Bethpage U.S. Open, where one of the biggest factors is which end of the draw you end up on.
Godich: I'm not sure anybody knows what he'll do not even Phil.
Dusek: I still don't think Mickelson is consistent enough with the long clubs. True, you can drive the ball all over the place on the Old Course, but you still want to come in on the ideal angles to set up good birdie chances on these enormous greens.
Evans: You can never tell with Phil. I think there is something to the idea that he only gets up to play when Tiger is in the field. At the Old Course, he could blow away the field or struggle mightily.
Gorant: After playing in a pro-am in Ireland last Monday and Tuesday, Tiger chose not to stay overseas, flying home to Florida. Good move?
Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: It's the right move if it really was to see his kids.
Shipnuck: Good for his kids, and maybe his image, but not for his Open preparation.
Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Great move, for the part of his life that's most important to him now, having a real relationship with his kids. I don't think golf is that important to him right now, until he gets to the course.
Herre: Big deal. It's only a six-hour flight, and it's not like he's flying commercial.
Evans: Why does Tiger need to stay in Ireland to prepare for an Open played at a course that he's owned?
Morfit: Agreed. What's a few extra days scouting a course everyone knows?