Tour Confidential: Can Tiger Fix His Swing Before the Masters, and Is Rory Back?

Russell Henley
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Rory McIlroy's struggles opened the door for another 24-year-old, Russell Henley, to capture the second PGA Tour title of his young career.

3. Russell Henley joins Patrick Reed, Harris English and Jason Day as this season’s under-30 winners. What stands out to you most about this new generation of stars, including McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler?

ANONYMOUS PRO: That they are all long off the tee, aggressive into the greens and putt very well. They all look very natural and confident and not over-coached.

SENS: In most of these cases, their length, aggressive play and their athleticism, the first two being a byproduct of the third. That's really what this era is about. Real athletes playing golf who bring that mentality and those physical abilities to the course. Not coincidentally, they came of age at a time when Tiger had changed the game.

GODICH: One word: Fearless.

LYNCH: Their inability to close tournaments. These guys aren't exactly making the engravers work overtime, which is why McIlroy doesn't belong among them. Two majors and a handful of other wins elevate him above players whose potential on the biggest stage is untested.

VAN SICKLE: I like Henley's intensity and his aggressive style. Yes, he had a few bobbles, but he's pretty steely. He made a nice run at Pebble Beach during the Open there as a college player, I recall.

RITTER: It's interesting to see the steady progression in all of them. Each has gone through near misses before breakthrough victories. Maybe the close call part isn't that remarkable, but to find a way to actually win multiple times, as several of them have, at their ages is impressive. We haven't had a youth movement like this since Tiger's one-man version in the late ’90s.

PASSOV: I'm not sure to what extent I can generalize, but these young players seem to have both poise and personality, as well as incredible talent. It used to be said that it took years to learn how to win on Tour, but this group seems to be proving otherwise.

4. On the NBC broadcast Sunday, Jack Nicklaus said that when McIlroy’s playing well, “I don’t think there’s anyone that plays as well as he does in the game -- well maybe Tiger.” Which Tour player do you think has the best A-game?

ANONYMOUS PRO: I still think Dustin Johnson has a blow out win in a major in him. He and Rory, at their best, make all of us look average, which is humbling but still fun to watch.

VAN SICKLE: Right now, I'll go with Phil's A-Game, because we just saw it at Merion, mostly, and at the British Open. We haven't seen Tiger's or Rory's in a while. I'm not sure what Tiger's A-Game looks like now.

RITTER: Rory's the only pro to win two majors by 8 shots each in the past three years. I agree with Jack.

PASSOV: In the not-so-distant past, I don't know how you could pick anybody except Tiger. It wasn't just that he won, it was that he won so often by ridiculously large margins. Rory's heaven-sent swing puts him up there -- who am I to argue with Jack Nicklaus -- but even at his 2011-2012 best, it didn't seem like his putting was always up to his ball-striking, so I'm not sure he had the best A-game.

GODICH: I'll still take Tiger. That said, it's disappointing we aren't seeing his A-game on a more regular basis.

LYNCH: There are only two names in this argument: Woods and McIlroy, who have shown that their 'A' game can win majors by wide margins. The best Woods can produce now isn't as good as the best he used to have, so I'd give the edge to McIlroy.

SENS: Thank you, Jack, for that bold, outside-of-the box thinking. The majors and margins of victory tell you that he gave the obvious two answers. If he'd said Jonas Blixt, we'd have something to debate.

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