3. John Daly shot 90 at the Valspar Championship on Friday, his worst-ever round on the PGA Tour. Should Daly still receive sponsor’s exemptions to play at PGA Tour events?
STOCKTON: Sure, if the sponsor wants him! Sponsor exemptions are a very valuable tool for a tournament director to use to create value in their local area -- it's their choice.
VAN SICKLE: I would've cut off Daly from exemptions years ago when he refused to go to Q-school to regain his card or even try Monday qualifying. But the exemptions belong to the tournaments and they should give them to any player they think will help the tournament. That includes Michelle Wie, Annika, Michael Jordan or Bozo the Clown. You want Daly, that's fine with me, but you know what you're getting.
MORFIT: Absolutely. Tournament sponsors have to get bodies through the gate. Daly draws. And he's still got enough game to finish in the money, notwithstanding that 90.
BAMBERGER: I'd give Lance Ten Broeck a sponsor's exemption before I'd give one to John Daly. Lance, and about a thousand other serious golfers.
PASSOV: Innisbrook trots out the Copperhead, a superior test of golf -- hard, but fair -- that the players respect and admire. Yet, because of its place on the schedule, the event can't draw Tiger, Phil, Rory or Adam, among others. If John Daly can act as a drawing card, he deserves the exemption, even if the attraction is the same as it is for NASCAR fans who tune in just for the crashes. Half the time he tees it up, Long John appears as if he needs professional help -- and I don't mean from a golf professional -- yet he still compels us to watch. And hey, the guy's bagged two majors. Can anyone else on the weekly exemption bubble claim that?
SENS: The guy won two majors and is a huge fan favorite. He can also still play a little, having made the cut in two of four events this year. It's called a sponsor's exemption because it's not a decision based strictly on the numbers. There are plenty of events Daly WON'T be allowed to play in because of his performance. Until he shows that he can't compete at all, I say we pull a Bad News Bears and "Let him play!"
SHIPNUCK: Absolutely! But he needs his own special course, with windmills and a finishing hole in which he can putt into a clown’s mouth.
4. In an interview with Golf.com, Hank Haney said that Tiger Woods won so many times because he shot lower scores, not because he intimidated his opponents. Do you agree with Haney that Tiger’s “intimidation factor” is overrated?
STOCKTON: Hate to say I disagree with Hank Haney, but Tiger intimidated everyone he came in contact with on Tour. Sure he shot lower scores, but he was mentally tougher than anyone else.
MORFIT: I disagree. In his prime, Tiger could be an intimidating guy to play with, and not just because he was so much better than everyone else. The excitable, migrating hoard that followed Woods was so extreme that I sometimes found myself feeling claustrophobic moving around in it as a media member.
SHIPNUCK: At the 2007 U.S. Open, I was on the first tee at Oakmont when Tiger strutted on to the first tee for the final round. He was wearing a skintight red shirt, and he looked like some kind of superhero. The crowd went bonkers. Aaron Baddeley’s eyes bugged out, cartoon-style, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he triple-bogeyed the first hole to kick away the lead. Beyond the virility of his physical presence, Tiger’s intimidation was in his record as a closer. He forced players to press, to try to do more than they were accustomed to, and that’s why they made so many mistakes competing against him. Those days are long gone now, but at his peak Tiger was certainly intimidating.
VAN SICKLE: Maybe they were intimidated by Tiger, maybe they were intimidated by trying to win. It's hard to separate the two. Few players are comfortable in that situation on the back nine Sunday because they're there so seldom. That was Tiger's big edge. I think there's a lot to what Haney said, but I also remember the first-round 67s that Tiger shot in majors and you could see the other competitors slump and think, ‘Well, this one's over.’
PASSOV: I learned something about this topic when interviewing co-leader Jim Colbert after the third round at the 1991 Senior Tour's Tradition event at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale. Colbert candidly remarked that when he and the other leaders saw all of the red numbers that a charging Jack Nicklaus was putting up, he felt it, and they felt it. Nicklaus did the same thing on Sunday and won by one. Tiger at his best was just like Jack. He knew he was going to beat you, and more importantly, in that 1999-2008 stretch, he knew that you knew he was going to beat you.
SENS: I think there's little doubt that the aura that used to surround Tiger, along with the chaos that followed in his wake, used to make a lot of guys uncomfortable. I've heard a number of Tour pros say so, and the final round numbers used to reflect that. Now, not at all. But that's because intimidation and low scores are two sides of the same coin. Hard to intimidate when you're shooting lousy scores when it matters most, as Tiger has been doing more and more these days.
BAMBERGER: Well, as all these things are, the argument is a matter of semantics. Yes, he shot lower scores. And it's intimidating to try to beat a player on a Sunday when you know you have to play your best, and he had to play less than his best, in order to have a chance. So I don't really agree with Hank. But I'm glad he's talking.