Bamberger: How about what Phil did for Anthony Kim at the Ryder Cup? That was unprecedented.
Shipnuck: It reminds me of Raymond Floyd and Fred Couples at the '91 Ryder Cup. Raymond took Fred under his wing, and in '92 Fred played his best golf. There was definitely a carryover, and Kim could have that next year, too.
Garrity: I nominate Boo Weekley as a breakout performer in '09. In the past Boo has used his act as a kind of shield to deflect pressure—"I'm just a country boy with no expectations." At the Ryder Cup he embraced it the way a showman does and exhibited a whole new level of confidence. Now he might be saying, I don't need this image as a crutch anymore, I'm Boo Weekley, and I can beat anybody.
Shipnuck: I like Hunter Mahan's game. When he made that long birdie putt on the 17th hole at the Ryder Cup and went nuts, that was passion no one had seen from him. That could be his missing piece. He has a lot of Couples in him. That emotion could lift him to becoming a great player.
Bamberger: I'll nominate a blast from the past. Why shouldn't Adam Scott finally step up?
Shipnuck: It's a perennial question. There's no reason he shouldn't win majors other than he simply hasn't. I like Robert Karlsson, who played like a madman in the Ryder Cup and won Europe's money title. John camped out in his mind for a story. He's a delicate flower.
Van Sickle: Who is, Garrity or Karlsson?
Garrity: Both. Robert blew a tournament in Europe early on, and with his tender psyche that might've hounded him in years past. Instead he came back and had his best year.
Anonymous Pro: Karlsson is a great player, but he's no spring chicken. He's 39.
Van Sickle: No one has mentioned Camilo Villegas after his late-season charge.