Each Tuesday for the remainder of the golf season we will be rolling out a mailbag, with any and all questions invited from readers and fans around the world. Have a good question you want answered? Hit me up on Twitter at @shanebacon and we will try to get to it in the coming weeks. Here we go ...
@shanebacon Given the chance to take the top 10 players in the world or the rest of the field at the Master, which way would you go?— Jonathan Wall (@jonathanrwall) March 25, 2014
Bacon: Oh hey it's our old Yahoo pal Jonathan Wall, and yes, that is a very, very interesting question. First, here are the current top-10 in the Official World Rankings so we can look at who is going to make up one side of this group and who will make up the other side.
Tiger Woods (No. 1), Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jason Day, Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia, Dustin Johnson and Zach Johnson round out our top-10, so I can either get all these guys or everyone else in the field?
For now I would have to go with the field, even if this graph from my buddy Kyle Porter points out that I may be making the wrong decision. Since 2000, only five winners of the Masters have come outside the top-10 in the world rankings, but the current PGA Tour is as equal as ever and I could see a very random Masters champion coming just as easily as I could see Scott repeat or Jason Day take home his first major win.
Here are just a few of the names outside the top-10 that I think have a great shot in two weeks at Augusta National; Bubba Watson (No. 12), Brandt Snedeker (No. 20), Jamie Donaldson (No. 28) and Graham DeLaet (No. 30).
If those were the only names I liked going up against that top-10 I don't know if I would go with the field, but I think with Tiger's injury, Scott's recent struggles closing and the fact that Sergio Garcia is part of that group makes me lean towards the massive list of the "other guys," even if history is against them.
@shanebacon is it good or bad for the game that stars like Scott and McIlroy can't close the deal against average tour players?— Liam Daly (@LiamDaly90) March 24, 2014
Bacon: I would watch it with that "average tour players" business, mainly because we are living in an era where literally anyone can go out and not only win a PGA Tour tournament, but get hot and win a few in a row (and then we might not hear from them for years).
Nobody is scared of anyone anymore, and that makes the PGA Tour a week-to-week experience, with guys like Patrick Reed and Jimmy Walker catching fire at certain times and becoming the "best player in the game," even if only for a few weeks.
I thought Alan Shipnuck put it best when talking about Scott, simply saying he's a nice guy that doesn't have that "step on the throat" mentality and that will cost him some tournaments where he has to grind it out in the end. I almost feel the same way about Rory McIlroy, a nice kid that will win tournaments when his golf swing is clicking but doesn't seem as insane about winning as a Tiger Woods or even a Billy Horschel or Keegan Bradley.
This isn't some 2014 golf epidemic. Players have struggled to close out tournaments since golf was invented, but Tiger Woods screwed up our way of thinking about winning (Vijay Singh also did this during his amazing stretch between 2002 and '06). My dad called me on Monday after the Arnold Palmer Invitational and made a similar comment about Tiger and the way this idea of winning has changed. We expect the best in the world to be "above choking" for some reason, and when they do have a bad Sunday round we jump on them like they forgot which side of the golf ball to stand on.
This is going to continue to happen, especially with the talent level on the current PGA Tour. Some days the best in the world will fire a final round 68 and pick up their big check like we all expected, and some days no putt is going to drop and it will be someone else enjoying the perks of a victory.
@shanebacon do think in the near future drivers on tour will be a thing of the past?— Steve Snider (@SNID11) March 25, 2014
Bacon: I think there is a better chance we see a guy with 13 drivers in his bag and one putter over a guy that decides he isn't using a driver for the rest of his career. Remember, Phil Mickelson is still alive and well on the PGA Tour.
@shanebacon watching Chesson Hadley snap his fingers like an idiot got me thinking. Best golf celebration?— Robert (@BobWhiteBalls) March 25, 2014
Bacon: Well first, are we sure we all hate this Chesson celebration? I actually think it's funny. Sure, it's a tad dorky and different than what we're used to, but all we do is ask for golfers to have some sort of personality and the moment they show it we all freak out and scream at the kid for being "different."
It's tough for lock up a single celebrations that I loved over the course of a career, but after careful consideration here are my top-five best golf celebrations at a particular moment in time.
5. "Be the right club today," followed by the massive forearm fist pump by Hal Sutton at the 2000 Players Championship.
4. David Duval's double first-pumps at the 1999 Ryder Cup (most fired up I've ever seen a golfer in my life).
3. Phil Mickelson's "jump" at the Masters.
2. Tiger Woods running after the ball at the 2000 PGA Championship.
1. Jack Nicklaus on 17 at Augusta in '86.
(Oh, and No. 336 on my list is anytime Phil Mickelson does the thumbs up with the goofy grin.)