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. Going into the PGA Championship, who's your Player of the Year so far: Tiger with five wins, including two WGCs and the Players, or Phil Mickelson, with two U.S. wins, one a major, a Scottish Open and a runner-up in another major? Related question: How many "regular" wins equal one major in your mind, and does strength of field in the factor into your decision?
Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Phil is my Player of Year so far. Majors are bigger in the Tiger era, so maybe it takes five regular wins to equal a major. Phil's got a major, plus one other. One more win by Tiger, though, and I'd change my mind.
Eamon Lynch, managing editor, Golf.com Tiger is clearly the player of the year, but ask yourself this: would Tiger rather have his season thus far or Phil's? I say Phil's, just to grab that claret jug. Regular wins equal a good bank balance, not a major. Just ask Lee Westwood.
Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: I'll take Phil. With one of those three victories being a major, that trumps Tiger's five wins, especially when you consider how he won that major. I don't know how you would begin to equate majors vs. regular events, but strength of field should figure into the formula. In the end, just win, baby!
Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Golf.com: Tiger's the Player of the Year, but I bet he'd cash in all five of his titles for one major, including the PGA next week.
Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: I think Phil is probably a hair ahead of Tiger at the moment but everything is still way up in the air. Strength of field doesn't do much for me as long as we're talking PGA Tour or Euro events where most of the top players bother to show up.
Joe Passov, senior editor, travel, Golf Magazine: Tiger's got my vote. Not sure how many regular wins a player would trade for a major, but he's beaten the strongest non-major fields in golf three times, and Torrey and Bay Hill aren't bad, either. Plus, a T4 and a T6 in his two "healthy" majors so far ain't bad (except by Tiger standards).
Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Put it this way, Would Tiger rather have his year or Phil's? There is no equivalency for majors, as Jay Haas, Bruce Lietzke, Steve Stricker and Kenny Perry have found out. They're special because they're so hard to win.
2. If Tiger wins six or seven events this season but no major, how do you view his year?
Passov: I think the players -- and the media -- overhype the majors, but I know I'm in the minority. By Tiger's standards, very good year, but not great. By any other measure, it's an awesome, practically halfway home to the watered-down Hall of Fame kind of year.
Morfit: I'd view it as a huge success for anyone but him. It's all about the majors for Tiger and has been for some time. That said, if he gets to eight this year it'll tie him with Snead, so he will get some of the recognition he deserves.
Van Sickle: Tiger has had a very good year but if he doesn't win a major, it'll be a disappointing season to him. He clearly made strides with his game and has to be happy with where he's at. But it's all about the majors for him. A shutout by any other name is still a shutout. He hates that.
Godich: Tiger would trade those seven victories for a major in a heartbeat. Just as he likes to remind us that he's won five times this season, he'd be equally quick to say, "I may have won only once, but let's not forget that one victory was a major."
Ritter: He's had a great year. Again, he's Player of the Year. A big reason why we media-types put so much stock in Tiger's major record is because Tiger puts so much stock in it. Look at another sport, like tennis. Does anyone know how many majors Serena Williams needs to catch Steffi Graf? (It's six. I had to look it up.) Passing San Snead on the all-time wins list is almost as impressive as passing Jack in the Slams, and Tiger will probably clip Snead next year. Not AS impressive ... but it's close.
Shipnuck: It's a spectacular year.... for anybody else. For Tiger, it's still unfulfilling.
Lynch: His season is already great by anyone else's standard, but that's not how he's ever been judged. If he doesn't win at Oak Hill, it's another lost year.