- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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Hack: I like Phil at the Masters too. Making putts and beating Tiger, head to head in the same group at the Tour Championship—that has to build confidence. I don't know if making that kooky short-game video for hacks like me, pun intended, helped solidify his technique, but if he believes it did, that's the same thing. He'll play his best golf since 2004.
Shipnuck: I don't think there's any doubt that Phil will be a force this year. Tiger has never been more vulnerable. If Phil is ever going to knock him off the pedestal, 2010 is the year.
Hack: I don't see a changing of the guard. The best player in the world still wears red on Sundays.
WHO'S ON THIRD?
Van Sickle: We know Tiger and Phil have historically been a cut above the rest. Who's really No. 3?
Anonymous Pro: Right now it's Steve Stricker. My only question is, at 42, how much longer does he keep pushing? He's gotten pretty close to the top of his mountain. He might be the most normal guy on Tour, and if he decided to spend more time at home, I wouldn't be shocked.
Bamberger: It'll be Rory McIlroy by the end of the year. I watched him play a lot of golf. He's world class at everything except—and this is serious—putting. He's not yet ready to win at Augusta National, but he's solid. If he rises to a Stricker--Justin Leonard level of putting, he could have a Phil-like career.
Van Sickle: I see McIlroy is driving a Lamborghini. Has he succumbed to the riches of fame?
Bamberger: He's flashy, he has that show-offy personality that needs people to look at him. So does Phil. That's good. It's actually weird that Tiger is where he is, because he doesn't have that at all.
Shipnuck: The continuing saga of Paddy Harrington is funny. He figured some things out late, and I think he'll be very solid. The thing about Stricker is that you sense he's playing his absolute best to be where he is, and that he can't let down for a minute.