Tour Confidential: What's next for Rory McIlroy? Plus, the end of the Tiger Era and Fowler vs. Garcia

Tiger Woods
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Tiger Woods closed with a 3-over 75 at the Open Championship on Sunday.

3. Tiger Woods finished 69th at 6-over. After Woods' 77 on Friday, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee declared that the Tiger era is over. Do you agree that Tiger’s days as a dominant force in golf are finished? What about Phil Mickelson?

MORFIT: I think Phil showed more signs than Tiger did this week, but let's not forget Woods had played just two competitive rounds since major back surgery on the last day of March. Nobody should have bought into the idea that he could contend here after his opening-round 69. He's got a lot of work to do. Is he finished as a dominant force? Is Phil finished as a dominant force? Yes in both cases, if you define dominance as any kind of lasting thing. I still think each might pick off another major -- they're both too good to rule out entirely.

SHIPNUCK: Yes, the end is nigh for both of them as consistently dominant forces. They will remain sporadically dangerous at the majors, but this is Rory's world now, and they're just living in it.

PASSOV: Right now, Tiger reminds me of Seve Ballesteros of the 1990s: His wayward driver was killing him, yet testament to his genius, he would find a way to contend and occasionally win. Until he fixes his driver, his days as a dominant force are over. Yet, this is the greatest player of our day. We counted him out a few times before -- and he came back in 2013 with five wins. I'm giving him time to get it right, and I think he will. Phil may need to find more motivation, but gosh, he's not that far off. I mean, he's not shooting 78-78. Bad year, true. Nicklaus did that at age 39, in 1979, then came back with two majors at age 40 in 1980. Phil ain't done, either.

MARKSBURY: Yep, as much as it saddens me to say it, I just don't see Tiger being competitive on a regular basis at this point. I do think he has plenty of tournament wins left in him, and maybe even a major or two, but the days (and years) of seeing Tiger as a regular atop the leaderboard are long gone. As far as Phil goes, he's always been a bit streaky and mercurial. I never really thought of Phil as "dominant." But I will always pick him to contend at Augusta, and oh, how I would love to see him win the U.S. Open!

GODICH: Brandel is right. Tiger and Phil will have their moments, but we're entering a new era in golf. No question who the new poster boy is. It'll be fun to watch it unfold.

SENS: Yes. But I think you could place the date further back, closer to the day when Y.E. Yang bested Tiger at the PGA. Or certainly soon after he crashed into the hydrant, the super-human aura around him began to fade. As for Phil's aura of dominance, it faded the day Tiger turned pro.

LYNCH: This point isn't even worthy of debating. It's demonstrably true that Tiger's days as a dominant force are over, and not based solely on this week's rusty performance. Dominance is measured in majors, and he hasn't won one in six years. Phil is also a diminishing force -- thanks mostly to a balky putter -- but still only one year removed from winning a major title. It's hard to identify any part of Tiger's game that offers cause for optimism in the majors.

RITTER: Yeah, the days of domination are over, but Tiger and Phil aren't done winning. Tiger needs to get healthy, and Phil needs to snap out of his putting slump, but both should be good for at least one more major in their careers. The new big three in golf is shaping up to be McIlroy, Scott and Kaymer, with Rory leading the class.

BAMBERGER: As the game's most dominant player? Well, last year, Woods was still the game's most dominant player. But he can't win what he wants to win. He can't have what he covets most. And in that sense, of course his domination is over. Phil should keep being Phil for a few more years. He can contend in majors, and if he does, he will know how to win. Just like Tiger.

VAN SICKLE: Brandel is probably right, but I'll give Tiger a year to recover from back surgery before judging.

4. Which 2014 British Open runner-up do you think will win a major first: Sergio Garcia or Rickie Fowler?

MORFIT: Fowler has a better record than Garcia in 2014 -- top-5s in all three majors -- and has more time, since he's only 25. For him, I'd say it seems inevitable. Garcia, I'm not sure. I still think the Open is his best chance for a major, just as it's Adam Scott's best chance, and Ernie Els' best chance. The Open is a great major for terrific tee-to-green players whose foibles on the greens are less likely to be accentuated by speed and slope.

PASSOV: Sergio. Fowler has played superbly in the majors, no question, and he's so good for golf, but he hasn't actually closed very often. Big edge to Sergio there.

VAN SICKLE: Rickie doesn't have all the Tiger-related scar tissue, so I pick him. But I liked what I saw from Sergio. I think he gets his major, too.

SENS: Fowler. He seems better equipped between the ears.

GODICH: I'll take Sergio. He's been so close to kicking down the door so many times, and hard as it may be to believe, he's still only 34. He seems rejuvenated. For all the great things we've seen from Rickie in the majors this season, let's not forget he only has one career PGA Tour victory.

SHIPNUCK: Fowler, because he's so ascendant. This felt a little bit like Sergio's last stand. The guy has so much scar tissue -- he may win a major someday, but I can only imagine it happening the Duval way (barely make the cut, go low early on Saturday, hang on during a final round when no one mounts a challenge).

LYNCH: Fowler, who has considerably less scar tissue and a lot more self-belief when it matters. It's only this year that Fowler has been in contention in majors and he has handled it admirably. Sergio seems a lot more fatalistic in the big events, and that's tough to overcome.

MARKSBURY: Rickie all the way. I'm so impressed with the way his game has matured this year. He's played awesome golf at all three of this year's majors, and I think it's only matter of time until it's finally his time. Sergio, too, has had a great year and always seems to rise to the occasion at the British Open. My heart broke a bit for him when he failed to get it out of the bunker. That seemed to end his run and take the wind out of his sails a bit. But he did make things interesting. I still believe he'll win a couple of majors before his career is over.

RITTER: Fowler, because Sergio hasn't completely conquered the mental demons that have plagued him in these events throughout his career. Sergio's Sunday run was impressive, but that bunker shot he flubbed on 15 wasn't that tough. With three top-5s in the majors this year, Fowler is clearly a player on the rise. I think he's going to bag a major soon, maybe even at Valhalla.

BAMBERGER: Sergio. He's a better golfer.

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