Bamberger: I thought he looked great at both events, and by look I mean his whole disposition. He looks literally light on his feet. I don't think he'll ever putt again like he did in 2000, but he's not going to have to do that to win majors. What he showed in Australia and at the Chevron is that he can still hit irons close, that he can get to pins—left, right and front—that others don't have the shape to get at. You can't do something at a world-class level without enjoying it. I think he's enjoying golf again.
Van Sickle: I know winning the Chevron is nothing, but Tiger didn't act like it was nothing. And you have to like that he made clutch birdie putts on the last two holes to win. It's a start. It may even qualify as an early warning.
Shipnuck: Tiger's victory at Sherwood changes everything heading into 2012. He's clearly getting more comfortable with his swing. More important, he's finally playing with more belief and passion. Birdieing the last two holes, including yet another 72nd-hole walk-off, was vintage. Next year just got a whole lot more intriguing.
KING OF THE HILL
Van Sickle: Luke Donald ended the game of musical chairs by grabbing the No. 1 World Ranking midyear and running with it. Who'll be No. 1 at this time next year?
Anonymous Pro: I'm going to say Rory McIlroy. He's more explosive and potentially dominant than Donald could ever think of being. Nobody won a bunch of tournaments this year, so the only guy who could get to No. 1 was the model of consistency—Luke. Next year somebody is going to become a dominant figure in golf by winning, not by simply compiling top fives, and Rory is that guy.
Shipnuck: If you're asking who'll be more exciting or more dominant, it might be Rory, but Luke will still be No. 1. You get as many points for a couple of top five finishes in a major as you do for winning one. Luke's consistency is amazing, and he has a big lead.
Hack: I'm going with Rors. The guy is built to win majors. I'll say it right now, he's going to win in April. He's a big-game hunter. I know he didn't follow up after Congressional, but he has won a major so there's no pressure on him. Luke still needs to win a major to justify that No. 1 ranking, and that may be tough.
Bamberger: I'm inclined to think it'll be Jason Day, despite his lousy play in the Presidents Cup. It's a contrarian choice, but his game looks complete. He has gotten the near misses out of his system. He looks extremely hungry. He has played well all over the world. He simply seems too good to keep down.
Van Sickle: I haven't heard anyone mention Tiger, Phil or Lee Westwood.