PGA Tour Confidential: Sang-Moon Bae wins Byron Nelson Championship

Sang-Moon Bae
Tom Pennington / Getty Images
Sang-Moon Bae shot a final-round 69 in tough conditions to win the Byron Nelson for his first career PGA Tour title.

Every Sunday night, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group conducts an e-mail roundtable. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

1. Sang-Moon Bae got his first PGA Tour win at age 26 at the Byron Nelson. Bae has won 11 times in Asia. Where does Bae rank among his fellow 20-something golfers like Keegan Bradley, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, etc.?

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: It's hard to assess Sang Moon Bae since as a foreign player and a newcomer, the only way he could get TV airtime was to win a tournament, which he did. Very solid game. Kudos to Golf Channel's Brandel Chamblee, who was first media guy to predict big things for Bae when he got through Q-school at the end of 2011. Impressive swing, nice putting touch and that was quite a finish in the wind. He certainly ranks with Fowler, if not ahead of him, since they're tied in wins, but he looks like a possible top-10 player in the world type in a few years.

Ryan Reiterman, senior producer, Golf.com: He ranks ... nowhere near any of those guys. It's not even a fair comparison since Bae has yet to play two full seasons on the PGA Tour. This week was obviously a great step in his career, and that's about all I'm reading into it.

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: He's nowhere close to being in Rory's league, but the fact he has won 11 times at such a young age shows he knows how to finish. Still, like so many other young guns, he is only a one-time winner on the PGA Tour. Let's see him do it again before we start projecting him for greatness.

Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: The only one he's in the conversation with is Fowler, since the other two are major winners. Rickie has certainly had a lot of high finishes to go with his win, and he's done a lot make the game cool, especially to kids, so I'd give him the nod.

Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Golf.com: Eleven worldwide wins certainly gets your attention. On the 20-something hierarchy you've gotta put Bae somewhere between Rickie and Rory, and I'll admit that's a pretty big gap. I really liked how when Bradley fought back to tie him on the back nine, Bae -- er, "Moon" -- was able to come up with the clutch shots over the closing holes to beat the Ryder Cup veteran. It wouldn't be surprising to see Moon win again this year.

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: I'd rank him ahead of Fowler just because he's won so many times as a pro. But I'd obviously rank him behind major winners Bradley and McIlroy. Bae has a sweet swing.

Joe Passov, senior editor, travel, Golf Magazine: With that gorgeous swing, great tempo and admirable driving distance, I think Bae is the real deal. I have a friend well-versed in Asian golf who in December 2011 wagered a thousand bucks that Bae would win a PGA Tour event in 2012 -- at 30-to-1 odds. Bae came close, losing to Luke Donald in a playoff at Tampa and my pal never did collect -- but that's how much he was convinced of Bae's talent.

2. Would you rather watch a scoring fest with eagles and birdies or see pros battle the elements like the winds Sunday in Dallas and struggle for pars?

Passov: I'm a blend man myself. Some weeks, it's fun to see the scoreboard bleeding red numbers, others, it's satisfying watching the struggle. At the Nelson, though, I would have preferred more birdies.

Ritter: Give me a mix of both, which is why Masters Sunday is my favorite golf-viewing day of the year.

Godich: It's nice to see these guys battle the elements every now and then, because it undoubtedly identifies the best player. At the same time, watching the best players struggle week in and week out would be a real buzz kill.

Reiterman: I've never understood why people enjoy watching the pros struggle to make pars. And it's probably why the U.S. Open is usually my least favorite of the four majors.

Van Sickle: I know birdie-fests make good TV but watching these guys hit all kinds of shots, good and bad, and showcasing who's got shotmaking skills and who doesn't is great fun in wild and windy conditions. I guess four days of that would get old but one howler a week is a real inside look at who's got game and who doesn't. One Battle Against the Elements to go, please.

Morfit: I'd rather see them do what they do best and score. Until the majors, when I like to see 'em suffer.

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