3. The three best players in the world -- statistically speaking -- couldn't get it done Sunday. Henrik Stenson had a chance to close the No. 1 gap with a home game at the Nordea Masters in Sweden, but the third-round co-leader faded after a final-round 71. Meanwhile, Adam Scott and Bubba Watson couldn't get it done down the stretch at the Memorial. Does being a closer have any relevance anymore, or is the modern game simply about high finishes and big money?
VAN SICKLE: Being a closer does have relevance. Their failures show just how difficult it is to close and reaffirm just how otherworldly a sure-thing closer like Tiger Woods was.
PASSOV: I'm not going to go all curmudgeon and say that Jack, Arnie, Ben and Bobby closed all the time. There were plenty of times when they weren't able to get it done -- though credit to Tiger. He always seemed to close successfully. But at a time in golf when we need a few to stars to fill the gap left by Tiger and his injuries, and by Phil with his issues, today's best are like phantoms, wispy, ghost-like figures who fade far too often. Don't Adam Scott and Bubba Watson have talent levels to match Vijay Singh and Tom Watson? Then why can't they win four or five times on Tour? I don't feel like any of these guys deserve No. 1 unless they can close more than twice a year.
SENS: It’s irrelevant to whether you can pay your mortgage. But it’s still important in the ways that matter most. Henrik Stenson won some $20 million on the course last year. You don’t think he would have traded some of those dollars to finish one place higher in last year’s British Open?
WALKER: The Memorial was a step backwards, but both Adam Scott and Bubba Watson are learning how to be closers. Bubba has grown from kind of a kooky guy to a consistent contender, and Adam Scott followed up a win last week with a good showing at Memorial and some bad luck hitting the flagstick on 15. By anybody’s standards but Tiger’s, they are both looking pretty solid.
BAMBERGER: Well, if you want us to remember you, you better close. Who finished second at last year's PGA? Damned if I know.
RITTER: Well, you can make a pretty nice living off back-door top 10s. But most guys, including those with Ferraris already in their garages, aspire to be great, and that still means winning.
4. Which event is better: Arnie's tournament at Bay Hill or Jack's tournament at Muirfield Village?
SENS: I’ll take Arnie’s for the greater drama of its closing holes, and for the way the players relate to the host. The guys might worship Nicklaus for what he accomplished on the course, but you sense they have more warmth for Palmer and a different sort of respect and gratitude for the ways he changed the game.
WALKER: Like the two players, Nicklaus leads by every measurable factor but Palmer wins on intangibles. The Memorial should have the edge – it’s on a more serious course with more serious competition -- but I prefer the freewheeling spirit and early-season optimism of Bay Hill.
VAN SICKLE: Even though Muirfield Village is a little extreme -- take the 16th hole … please! -- it's a much better golf course than Bay Hill. As for fan parking and practice facilities and every other aspect of tournament golf, it's not much of a contest. The Memorial is way better.
PASSOV: Slight nod to Jack's event. The club, course and tournament were created to be Ohio's version of Augusta and the Masters and while it doesn't have the 5th major status Jack thought it once deserved, it's closer to that than Arnie's party.
BAMBERGER: Jack's. Better course, better field, better date.