Every morning this week, writers and editors from Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine will address one pressing question about the U.S. Open in a daily version of PGA Tour Confidential, our weekly roundtable discussion.
Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated Golf Plus: Very simple question: What do you expect to see from Tiger Woods this week?
Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: Very simply: Not much.
Ryan Reiterman, senior producer, Golf.com: I’d be surprised if he’s not in the mix. Frank won’t be used much if the course is firm and fast. He says he’s got his irons dialed in, and obviously he knows the greens.
Damon Hack, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Tiger is going to have a few moments of adversity this week, and I’m not sure he’ll be able to stop the slide. In years past, no one was better at beating back adversity. I just don’t see him doing much this week.
Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Golf.com: Twelve bogeys, eight birdies, four awkward press conferences, three on-course profanities, two eagles, one fist pump and a top-five finish.
Mike Walker, senior editor, Golf Magazine: Before the week, I liked Tiger to win, but he hasn’t looked especially confident in his practice rounds. Still see a Top 10 finish based on his experience, success on links and the fact that he can keep driver in his bag.
Rick Lipsey, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: I’d like to see magic at Pebble, but I expect to see something much less than a victory.
Farrell Evans, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: Tiger will hit only five drivers all week. He’ll sting the course to death but fall away on the back nine on Sunday, finishing T-6.
Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: He will tease us, just like he did at the Masters. He will have his share of spectacular shots but will be undone by inconsistency. I can see him making a mess of a hole just when it looks like he’s getting into contention.
Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: I also think he’s going to have a week similar to the Masters, where he does a handful of great things but can’t overcome his mistakes and rust. I think he’ll finish in the top 5 based on the fact that he doesn’t have to hit driver very much and has a lot of good mojo to fall back on at Pebble.
David Dusek, deputy editor, Golf.com: I watched Tiger on the range today after his round. He was drawing, cutting, flighting approach shots high and low. But that’s on the range. I agree that being able to hit 2-iron off the tee instead of driver will help him, but I think Tiger will get another top 10 instead of another major win.
Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Much depends on how he survives the first couple rounds. If he doesn’t blow himself out of the tournament on Thursday, I like his chances because nobody knows the course better — and he’s still Tiger Woods. And you’re not.
Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Rounds of 72, 71, 69 and 75 with a tap-in birdie on the last, followed by a little mock dance and a graceful exit interview with Jimmy Roberts marking his 13th-place finish.
Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: I expect Tiger will leave the driver in the bag, which will be a big plus for him, and rely on what we used to call the best short game in golf. He’ll use that and his guile and get in contention. Once he’s in the mix on Sunday, he may be smart enough to outthink the other guys and win No. 15. I wouldn’t bet on in, but I wouldn’t be surprised, either.