5. And the winners are . . .
VAN SICKLE: Who do you like on the women’s side?
GARRITY: I’ll go with Stacy Lewis. She just bumped Inbee Park off the mountaintop with her win on Sunday. This seems to be a season of American resurgence.
ANONYMOUS PRO: I like Lewis too. What a great story for the all-American girl to win at Pinehurst. She’s got a pair of victories this year and a lot of near misses. She’s a great driver of the ball and third in greens hit in regulation on the LPGA -- that’ll be huge at Pinehurst.
BAMBERGER: Karrie Webb. Pinehurst will require an older golfing head, and she’s played some beautiful golf this year.
SHIPNUCK: I’m going with -Michelle Wie. She’s pounding her driver long and straight, which will give her shorter clubs into the greens. And her precision with her irons is key, given that Pinehurst is all about the approach shot. Then there’s the fact that this is the most anticipated Women’s Open ever. It needs a big-time winner, and Wie will move the needle like no other.
VAN SICKLE: I’ve got Anna Nordqvist. She has two wins this season, she hits a lot of greens, and she holes putts. The fact that I frequently mis-type her name is an added bonus.
BAMBERGER: On the men’s side I’m going with Rory -McIlroy because it’s a wide-open driving course, similar to Congressional and Kiawah. And he’s a very talented golfer. I think his head is clearing. Not clear, clearing.
SHIPNUCK: Somebody has to pick Phil. We all know he’s a very emotional golfer, and I believe you have to love a course to play it well. Phil attended a golf camp at Pinehurst when he was 13, so it’s a place that’s important to him. It would be too perfect to return 15 years later and have this be his ultimate victory lap. Phil can find the magic. It’s still in him. He can’t not win a U.S. Open.
VAN SICKLE: Double negatives aside, he’s going back to Pinehurst, where he coulda-shoulda won in 1999, but now it completes the career Grand Slam for him.
GARRITY: I’m with Alan for all the same reasons. Phil will probably miss his usual quota of fairways, but because of the renovation he’ll be hitting out of waste areas and love grass, which he’ll prefer to the usual Open rough. Plus, Phil is a drama king, and he’s very good at it.
ANONYMOUS PRO: Wow, you guys are taking all the sentimental picks. I like Matt Kuchar. He fits the profile of a good iron player and a great scrambler. He’s top five in scrambling stats, and if it’s remotely firm, you have to be an unbelievable scrambler because half of those greens repel balls.
VAN SICKLE: Phil will cause a total eclipse of the media, which means Justin Rose will come in under the radar, usually impossible for a defending champion. I like him for the same reasons the Pro likes Kuchar. He’s precise with the irons, and his short game is very, very good.
BAMBERGER: Is it too late to change my pick to California Chrome?
The Tour Confidential roundtable continues Monday on our new weekly show hosted by Jessica Marksbury. Tweet her your questions @Jess_Marksbury.