THE STORY OF 2013
Reiterman: What's been the story so far this year? Rory's lackluster start? Tiger's dominance? Or Stacy Lewis taking over the LPGA?
Van Sickle: Rory and Stacy have been stories so far but Tiger is about to make them old news. Five wins in the last year before Bay Hill. He's on the rise and all things Tiger, especially involving winning, dwarf everything else in golf. We're almost back to all Tiger, all the time in the golf news business, at the request of the readers.
Morfit: I'd say the story this year has been Rory's crummy start. Because of that, we really have no idea if the new king is the same as the old king. It looks that way, but we just don't know. I still think Rory's best golf is more explosive than Tiger's, but who really knows?
Bamberger: The biggest story of the year is how the fight to stop the anchored-putting ban died. Well played, Mr. Commissioner. An assist to the European Tour. It played out the way it should have. The PGA's position was honest, but not best for golf. We need a strong rules-making body. That doesn't meant the USGA can't be challenged. It should be challenged. But the rule change is a smart one and golf, I believe, will be better for it. We've strayed too far from the game's primitive roots as it is.
Godich: Tiger's dominance. Whenever he's in the hunt, that's good for golf. Just look at the ratings.
Walker: Tiger's return is the story. The American golf media care far more about Rory McIlroy than American golf fans do.
Gorant: Tiger hasn't dominated yet. If he wins this week he's in position to be dominant in my book. Rory just seems to be MIA.
Lynch: Rory's sluggish start is probably more surprising than Tiger winning three times before Augusta. But the stories that really matter start being written in two weeks after the Masters.
Ritter: Rory and Stacy have been interesting subplots, but the story of 2013 is Tiger, Tiger, Tiger.
Shipnuck: Stacy Lewis has been a massive lift for the LPGA but I'm not sure how many casual fans are tuned in to what she's doing. Tiger played dominant golf at times last year, so it becomes news only if/when he wins a major. So, to me, the big story has been Rory's fragility. It throws into doubt if he has the stomach to carry an entire sport. Fred Couples didn't, and they're pretty similar personalities. No one is doubting the kid's talent, but it takes a certain toughness and selfishness to be number one and that's not exactly who McIlroy is.
Wei: It's gotta be Tiger. He moves the needle unlike anyone else.
TIGER AND LINDSEY GO PUBLIC
Reiterman: Earlier this week, Tiger and Lindsey Vonn publicly announced they are a couple by posting messages on their respective Facebook pages. What did you make of Tiger's attempt to diffuse the "stalkerazzi."
Wei: Such a Tiger move. It was pretty weird and creepy, but can't say I'm surprised Tiger chose to do that so he's devalued any other first pics of him and Vonn. I just don't know what I'd do if my boyfriend was like, "Hey, how about we have an awkward photo shoot and release them to make us Facebook-official?"
Bamberger: Tiger is smart to go public. There's less mystery, less for the stalkers to go after.
Morfit: I was happy for him, in some measure because it's a whole lot easier covering a guy who is happy and at ease with the way his life is going. The big question I have now is not whether the comeback is on or not, because it definitely is. The question is how many people will get behind it. Will his victories get the same attention, the same play in the media? The response so far seems slightly muted, but maybe the frenzy will return if he wins the Masters.
Ritter: It's nice to see Woods is happy in his personal life, and how he chooses to release the news is up to him. I thought the Facebook post was a little odd, but he reasoned that the photos would "devalue" paparazzi shots taken of him and Lindsey. That may be true, but it also exponentially increased the value of any new photos of Tiger with other women. I take it as a sign that Tiger's learned from his past transgressions and is confident in his new relationship.
Lynch: Let's be honest here. If you really want privacy and to be left alone, you don't seek out a celebrity girlfriend and then announce it on Facebook, complete with photos obviously taken with the same Vaseline-smeared lens used to shoot close-ups of Barbara Walters. It is another attempt by Team Tiger to control all coverage of him. Fair enough. He's entitled to try, but releasing lousy photographs isn't going to stop paparazzi from chasing him looking for more authentic shots.
Van Sickle: The average person -- all of us -- have no idea what it's like to be famous enough to be stalked by photographers 24/7. So I'll give Tiger a pass on anything in this area. If it helps reduce the stalking, great. If it's just to take money out of the paparazzi's pockets, I'm OK with that, too. If he really wants to take the edge of this situation, he should go out in public with Vonn, like, every day until it stops being news and becomes normal.
Walker: Good luck to him and Vonn. However, Tiger's hostility to the tabloids is just going to make them more aggressive.
Godich: I see it as another step in his attempt to rehabilitate his image. He had to get a boost from the Nike ads with Rory. This won't hurt either. The guy is at least making an attempt, however minor, to connect with fans. Good for him.
Shipnuck: It's the way of the world. My only critique is how cheesy those staged prom-style photos were. Where's Walter Ioss when you really need him?!
Gorant: The joke of it is that world-famous athlete releases photos of himself and world-famous athlete girlfriend and then asks for privacy. Ha! You want privacy? Date another nanny. Has he not been paying attention to the whole Wozilroy thing? Maybe he has and he's jealous of the attention they're getting. Whatever. At some point, the "here's my famous girlfriend, please don't pay attention to us" thing rings very hollow.