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

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Rory McIlroy will defend his Open Championship title at St. Andrews in 2015.

5. With heavy rain in the forecast, the R&A decided to play threesomes off split tees for the first time ever on Saturday to beat the weather. Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia applauded the decision, while Dustin Johnson was disappointed. What did you think of the decision and how did it affect the final outcome of the tournament?

LYNCH: Many a major has been decided by luck of the draw with the weather. This Open ought to have been handled like the 142 that preceded it.

SENS: I didn't like it. The Open is at its most compelling when weather enters the fray. As for how it affected the final result, that's just the point: wind and rain add an unpredictable element. The only thing we know for sure is that more guys would have gotten wet.

RITTER: About an hour after play ended on Saturday, the course got absolutely drilled with rain. The greens puddled and play would've surely been delayed, if not totally washed out for the day. Moving up the tee times was the right move.

VAN SICKLE: I didnt know the R&A was afraid of bad weather. Since it poured hard after play finished early, I guess it was a good call. Sissies.

MARKSBURY: Can't really speculate on the woulda-shoulda-coulda aspect, but to me, the weather is always one of the biggest and most interesting factors in this championship. Changing up the format to avoid bad weather -- for the first time ever -- seems to go against the spirit of the event.

MORFIT: I think Rory would've won regardless. And I'm not sure how long it would've taken to clean up the course after the torrential rain that fell just after he finished his round. I liked the decision.

PASSOV: Hindsight is 20-20, so I'm not going there. We live in a different society now. That night football game a few years ago that was supposed to be played in a Philadelphia snowstorm versus the Vikings? I was salivating at the prospect. They cancelled it for “public safety" concerns. Bunch of hooey. So we break with 154 years of Open tradition, and the called-for weather never happened. Different time, different era. Rory would have stormed to victory regardless, but it definitely helped him.

BAMBERGER: They did the right thing. Why make the fans and players uncomfortable? Tradition is important, but it's not the only consideration.

SHIPNUCK: It was defensible but disappointing. In the end there was no lighting, so the players should have been forced to play through the elements. It woulda been a great show.

GODICH: I can't fault the R&A for its decision. They're not shy about playing in rain and wind, but lightning is another thing. Move on.

6. Royal Liverpool may have been a boring, defenseless course with no wind, but it produced a glittery leaderboard from start to finish. Is it a waste of time to brutalize course setups at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship, given how many strange names show up in the top 20 of those events?

VAN SICKLE: My theory is, the lower the score in a major, the better the winner. And vice versa. The best players make the most birdies. Lotta birds and eagles at Hoylake, so a good board.

PASSOV: There are a bunch of great players and media colleagues who get all worked up at the "test" provided every time they trick up a U.S. Open or PGA Championship venue, as if that's supposed to identify the best players. Sorry, that rarely happens. Instead, you get a course set up so much on the edge that halfway decent shots are punished as much as poor shots. Since the best players miss more with decent shots or putts, they're lumped in with the same guys who miss badly. Look at the low-scoring British Opens. It seems like the leaderboards were full of top players. I recall Davis Love's withering comment about Paul Lawrie's 1999 win at Car-Nasty, with that insane setup, saying, "It got the champion it deserved." I'm of the opinion that the powers should select a course that will prove sufficiently testing for today's players, and let them play, period.

SHIPNUCK: Most links courses give up low scores when there's little wind, and Hoylake was also softened up by rain. It remains a good strategic test -- it's the flat, mostly featureless land that makes it feel a little tedious. I'm not in favor of tricking up classic links. I mean, who cares what McIlroy shot? He was clearly the best golfer and the course identified him as such. The U.S. Open and PGA are not played on centuries-old links, so it's okay to modernize the courses to some degree. But when they become too penal and even good shots aren't rewarded, well, that's when you get random names on the leaderboard.

SENS: The majors should be set up as tough as possible without tricking up the courses. And what's wrong with strange names? Rory McIlroy. Say that aloud a few times over. Sounds pretty strange.

MARKSBURY: No. the U.S. Open is great because it's so ridiculously hard. That's a big part of its allure for me. I've never really cared about the final score at the British Open. Yes, it certainly played easier this year than most, but we didn't really get to witness the effects of any particularly harsh UK gales, either.

MORFIT: I'm happy to watch guys make birdies, like they did this week. We also saw a lot of eagles at Hoylake. Robert Karlsson made two and Garcia made one on Sunday. Rory made two on Saturday. Eagles can be such a game-changer, as they were for McIlroy on Saturday. That said, I would like to see him win a major on a dry, fast golf course. In fact, Rory himself has said he'd like to see it.

GODICH: Say what you want about Royal Liverpool, but it just added another distinguished player to its list of British Open champions. In the end, golf is all about the players and the golf shots. I rather liked the unique setup, with the three par-5s on the back nine. It created the potential for some fireworks, and I don't think we'll forget the iron shots Rory played into the last two par-5s on Saturday anytime soon.

LYNCH: If golfers are asked to display imagination, course management and patience -- and not just superior ball-striking -- then I think the cream rises to the top. That's what links golf demands, even if this course is the dullest of the Open rota I've seen. It doesn't require any imagination to hack sideways out of the cabbage, which is what most other major setups demand.

BAMBERGER: Yes! Pick a course you like and let them play! The more I think about Merion last year, the more uncomfortable I am with it. Maybe I should think about other things.

The Tour Confidential roundtable continues Monday on our new weekly show hosted by Jessica Marksbury. Tweet her your questions @Jess_Marksbury.

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