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’s niece Cheyenne Woods won the Australian Ladies Masters on Sunday for her first professional win. If you’re Cheyenne, is your last name a blessing or a curse? And how important would she be to the LPGA if she can make it to the tour?
Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@AlanShipnuck): Huuuuuge blessing. Would we even be talking about her otherwise? But along with that name, she has a certain star quality and would be a massive boost for the LPGA.
Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@GaryVanSickle): The last name is a bit of a curse, but since she's never been profiled or hyped as a potential superstar, her last name will be much more of a blessing. Any kind of media exposure she can earn is a plus for the LPGA these days. It's on the rebound, it’s adding tournaments and now it's needs a true breakout star of some kind. She'd be ideal, but I wouldn't project any predictions on her. Congrats to her. Let's hope she can keep winning.
Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine (@CameronMorfit): Other than the contract with Nike, where her last name probably helped quite a bit, I would think it would be a burden to be constantly compared to arguably the greatest golfer of all time. Good for her. She seems like a cool person, from what I've seen of her work in the pressroom, where she once surprised her hard-to-surprise Uncle Tiger. As for her value to the LPGA, she would help, but I'm not sure how much -- unless she somehow became dominant, which seems unlikely.
Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: The best Tiger Woods moment at last year's U.S. Open, by far, was when Cheyenne asked her uncle a question at his pre-tournament press conference. Her surname is a gift. It comes with an athletic gene.
Eamon Lynch, managing editor, Golf.com (@eamonlynch): The Woods family name opens doors and adds pressure, but overall it's hard to see it as a negative. If the 363rd-ranked female golfer in the world was named Cheyenne Smith, would she be decked out in a Nike swoosh or be so well known within the game even before winning? Probably not. But she earned her spot on the European Tour and showed mettle in winning. LPGA commish Mike Whan must look at her and see a marketing dream.
Jeff Ritter, senior editor, Sports Illustrated Golf Group (@Jeff_Ritter): Woods' name is currently a blessing because it's helped her land sponsorships and exemptions into events. She's now squarely on the short list of ladies who could truly breathe life into the LPGA -- along with Lexi, Wie, Paula and maybe a couple others. It would be great to see Cheyenne take it all the way to the top tour.
Josh Sens, contributing writer, Golf Magazine (@JoshSens): Blessing. That last name means access, opportunities and sponsorship dollars that wouldn't likely be there if her name were Smith. If the "curse" you refer to is the alleged "curse of expectations,” then what professional athlete doesn't deal with that? I'm sure there are any number of talented sports psychologists who would be willing to help her cope with the suffering at no charge. And she'd be great for the LPGA, which could use all the compelling figures it can get.
Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated (@MarkGodich): It has to be a curse. Ask the Nicklaus boys. Ask Sam Saunders. Ask athletes in any other sport who are trying to follow in the footsteps of a legend. Sure, the name will open a lot of doors, but the opportunities only amp up the pressure.
2. Family ties were in evidence this week with Cheyenne adding to the Woods family win total and last week with Kevin Stadler winning at Phoenix. Which family do you consider the First Family of golf?
VAN SICKLE: I'd go with Bill and Jay Haas. Jay is still pretty competitive in senior golf and Bill is one of the Tour's better players. Kevin is just now trying to rise above the rank-and-file guys, and he's got a chance. It's cool that he's going to finally play in his first Masters. Bill and Jay have been there, done that, though. The real First Family of Golf probably remains the Harmon brothers -- Butch, Billy and Craig.
GODICH: I'll take the Haases. You've got Jay and Bill. Then there Jay's brother, Jerry, and Uncle Bob (Goalby).
MORFIT: I consider the Nicklaus family deserving of that honor. I think it's the only family in golf where one of the kids has actually graced the cover of SI.
RITTER: The Nicklaus family. I don't see that changing anytime soon.
BAMBERGER: The Thompsons: Lexi on the LPGA tour, Nick on the PGA Tour and Curtis, still an amateur, is probably the most talented of three.
SHIPNUCK: Old Tom and Young Tom, clearly. In modern times, I'd say the Kuehnes, with three kids each winning a USGA title, or Jay and Bill Haas' two generations of Tour success.
SENS: Elihu and Spaulding Smails.