3. At age 35, after seven years without a win, Jimmy Walker has won three times in his last eight starts. Which is the better teacher: Butch Harmon, whom Walker started working with last year, or experience?
MORFIT: I gotta go with experience here. Winning is a habit, although Walker looked pretty shaky on 17 and 18. I don't know which was harder to watch -- Jimmy with the putter or Nantz and Faldo wondering what in the world to do with old Clint up in the booth.
SHIPNUCK: You gotta say Butch, given that they started working together less than a year ago.
SENS: Harmon. Lots of guys out there have experience and don't succeed. Then they team up with Harmon and they do.
GODICH: Nothing beats experience -- and winning. Once he got that first victory last fall, Walker had to be telling himself, "Yeah, I can do this." I'd venture to say that he wouldn't have held on at Pebble if he had been looking for his first career victory.
LYNCH: Butch. Experience is invaluable, but it also brings scar tissue. Butch instilled self-belief when it matters.
RITTER: Both factors probably contributed, but Walker certainly bolsters the case for Butch. Do you think he could fix my slice?
VAN SICKLE: It's pretty hard to fault Butch's track record. Whether it was mechanics or the confidence instilled by what Butch taught, Walker is clearly playing with more swagger. Now when he gets in contention, as he often has, he's not wondering whether he can win, he's expecting to win. That can be all it takes to make a difference on Sundays.
BAMBERGER: I don't know anything about Walker-Harmon relationship, but I've heard Butch in action with other students, and it's pure golf. An adjustment here, an adjustment there, and a pep-talk to man-up and go after it.
4. Where does Pebble Beach rank on your list of the greatest American golf courses? Do you think the course is overrated or underrated?
VAN SICKLE: Pebble Beach may be slightly overrated as a golf course but as a golfing experience, it's still No. 1. The Pacific Ocean isn't going anywhere. It's right there, and you're playing practically on top of it. A great course makes you feel like you're in a special place, and Pebble Beach does that. So what if there are a few dull holes like 11, 13 and 15? The holes along the ocean are something every real golfer should experience.
SENS: Given that our own magazine has it at No. 7 in the world, I'd say overrated. But maybe it's that I have a hard time separating the design from the experience. The brutal pace of play, the pomp and ceremony on the first tee, the price-gauging at the turn -- great as I think the course is, all that other stuff is everything I DON'T want in my round of golf.
MORFIT: The place makes me want to move to the coast. It's just too beautiful, so no, I wouldn't say it's overrated. Some of those holes are so iconic, I consider it the St. Andrews of America.
BAMBERGER: Pebble as a piece of land could not be overrated. People who don't play golf are awed by the place. As a collection of 18 fascinating holes, it's overrated. But half the holes are off-the-charts beautiful, and that's what you remember.
GODICH: I'd give Pebble the silver medal, just behind Augusta National and just ahead of Pine Valley. While the seaside holes are spectacular, too many of the inland holes are rather pedestrian, relatively speaking.
SHIPNUCK: It's my favorite course in the world, and maybe the best. Beauty, history, world-class shot values -- what more could you want?
LYNCH: It makes the medal podium on the Monterey Peninsula, far behind Cypress Point Club, battling for silver honors with the Shore course at MPCC. Sure, there are six world-class holes, but great golf courses are not six holes. Too many folks are suckered by the breathtaking aesthetics and history (yes, you Shipnuck!). If you're ranking prettiest courses, it is near the top. If you're ranking great courses, it is middle of the pack.