Every Sunday night, Golf.com conducts an e-mail roundtable with writers from Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.
1. Tiger Woods spilt with his coach Sean Foley last week after four years together with eight PGA Tour wins and no major championships. Does this decision make Tiger more likely or less likely to get to his goal of 18 majors?
Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@AlanShipnuck): More, definitely. Tiger needs to reboot in every conceivable way, and this gives him the chance for a fresh start.
Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Well, let's start with No. 15, shall we? I would say more likely. Woods did win five times last year with his "Foley" swing. But even with all that success, that doesn't mean he trusted it enough in the extreme demands of major championship play. Maybe that distinction doesn't really exist, but I think it does. A swing Woods believes in is one that comes more naturally to him. The large number of practice swings you would often see Woods make before stepping up to it suggested some confusion. For his sake, you hope his swing evolves to something that is more intuitive. He played fast, for him, in 2000.
Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated (@MarkGodich): Nothing has changed. He's not getting to 18. Where does Tiger turn now? I'd swallow a little pride and put in a phone call to Butch Harmon. The biggest issue: Whomever he chooses is going to want to make changes, and we all know that will take time, maybe years. And Tiger turns 40 in 2015.
Mike Walker, assistant managing editor, Golf.com (@michaelwalkerjr): More likely. Tiger made a lot of progress with Foley. The 2013 season did wonders for his confidence. He also had chances to win majors with Foley that he didn’t capitalize on (the 2012 British Open at Royal Lytham, the 2013 British Open at Muirfield -- and don’t forget about “The Drop”). Once he’s healthy, he needs to have one goal: Fix the driver. That wasn’t getting better with Foley, so an amiable split was the right call.
Josh Sens, contributing writer, Golf Magazine (@JoshSens): Considering that with Foley, his chances were slim to none, with slim growing leaner by the day, this can only up the odds.
Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@GaryVanSickle): I think Brandel Chamblee was right that the Foley swing may have contributed to, or possibly led to, Tiger's back issues. Then again, Tiger has hit about three million shots at 120 mph over the last 25 years, so who knows? He couldn't make any progress when he kept getting hurt, so this change can only help. Tiger is a long way from winning another major right now, however.
Jeff Ritter, senior editor, Sports Illustrated Golf Group (@Jeff_Ritter): Not sure it has much effect. Ultimately Tiger's single biggest hindrance to catching Jack has been himself, first from the scandal and then from his declining health. I don't think he's done winning majors, but no one has won more than three after turning 39, and Woods hits that number this December. Tiger is a huge long shot to get the four he needs to tie Jack.
Joe Passov, senior editor, Golf Magazine (@joepassov): Neither one. I'm with the camp that says Tiger would be fine without a coach, and that he'll be fine with whomever he selects. Hey, Jack had issues in later years, consulting Peter Kostis, Phil Rodgers and Jim Flick, among others. We didn't second-guess his every move then. Let Tiger be. Go back to less process, more feel, fix the driver, get healthy, make a few more putts.
2. The big golf news this week is the Ryder Cup wildcard picks. What factor should carry the most weight with captains in making their decisions: current form or past experience or something else?
VAN SICKLE: Current form trumps experience to an extent, but I think you're really looking for someone who can make a big shot or a big putt at a big moment. There are plenty of guys on Tour with great swings and they're 32 years old and have one or two victories. They can't handle the Sunday pressure. Those are the players to avoid.
GODICH: You need a little of both, but if I'm Tom Watson, I'm leaning toward picking the players who are the hottest. How many Cups has the U.S. won in the last 21 years? Why would you load up with players who are experienced at losing -- and who didn't play well enough to make the team on points? My first call goes to Chris Kirk, who quietly matched Rory McIlroy's 64 in the third round at the Deutsche Bank and then dusted him by four shots while being paired again on Monday.
BAMBERGER: If those are the only options, I'd go with current form. But more than anything, I'd try to find someone who likes the heat of the lights on a Sunday afternoon, because Ryder Cup golf will give you that in spades.
WALKER: Experience, especially for the underdog and largely untested U.S. team in Scotland this year. How well you played at the Barclays or the Deutsche Bank Championship won’t matter as much in three weeks as how you’ve handled Ryder Cup or major Sunday pressure in the past.
RITTER: It's probably a mix of things, with experience ranking No. 1. It's why Poulter and Bradley are virtual locks for their teams, and both will be great picks. Those guys bring more than a veteran presence -- there's a history and an intimidation factor.
PASSOV: What the heck is current form, anyway? The last time one of the automatic U.S. qualifiers won a tournament was April. Experience? Why pick a guy who has team experience, if he's got a losing record? As Captain Azinger proved in 2008, chemistry seems like a big deal and so does spirit. Keegan Bradley seems like a fire-breathing Ryder Cup dragon. Pick him. He's long and pairs well with Phil. I don't care where he finishes in points.
SENS: Given the unique pressure all players say the Ryder Cup brings, you've got to put past experience first. Keegan Bradley and Ian Poulter haven't exactly had stellar seasons, but based on the fire they've shown, I don't think you'll see either of them left out.
SHIPNUCK: Form, experience and a certain presence are all important. Only Watson knows how much weight he gives each factor, but for an old-timer like him, I'm guessing experience is key.