3. A lot of top players turned in disappointing performances at the Masters. Who has the most to prove at Merion?
Van Sickle: The most to prove is Rory McIlroy. He's got 250 million reasons to start playing well. Golf is a game of ups and downs and he needs to get back on the Up escalator in a hurry.
Ritter: Tiger's trying to prove he's the greatest player of all time, and to do that he really needs a major this year. I think Merion represents his best shot at it. Next on the list would be Westwood and Donald, who are long overdue to break through.
Morfit: Brandt Snedeker just looked out of it that last day at Augusta, after talking up his preparedness to win. His performance at Harbour Town (T59) is salt in the wound. He could make everyone forget about that at Merion.
Bamberger: Woods. He showed the world he cares more about himself than the game that has enriched him. My enormous respect for him took a hit at Augusta.
Godich: Luke Donald. If he's not careful, he's going to start getting labeled as the next Lee Westwood. Length won't be a factor at Merion, but accuracy will. That should play right into Donald's hands.
Reiterman: Once again it's Tiger. He was cruising to a fifth green jacket, and then his rules calamity derailed his chances for major No. 15. Everyone says Merion will be Royal Liverpool 2.0 -- lots of stingers, no drivers -- and it sets up perfectly for Woods. We'll see.
Passov: Rory, Rory, Rory, Luke. Phil could retire happy tomorrow (if he wanted to); it surprises me more now when he plays well than when he doesn't. Lee Westwood seems to have the wrong karma for majors. Rory so wowed us all -- media and public -- that it's time to sound the alarm bells if he doesn't at least contend at Merion. I mention Luke because the former World No. 1 doesn't seem to factor in enough at majors -- and Merion would appear to suit his strengths.
Lynch: Tiger. Every passing major takes him further away from his 14th at Torrey Pines five years ago and no closer to his stated goal of 19.
4. Peter Uihlein, the former Oklahoma State star, had the 36-hole lead at the Open de Espana before finishing in a tie for eighth, two shots back. Jordan Spieth, who left Texas after his freshman year, had another solid week on the PGA Tour, finishing T9 at Harbour Town. If you had the first pick in the 2013 PGA Tour Draft, would you take Uihlein or Spieth?
Morfit: Spieth is getting it done right now so he's the easy choice. Uihlein still has to get to the Tour, and that won't be easy since he's not on the Web.com Tour in 2013.
Ritter: Both players are great talents, but I've seen more of Spieth and really like his grit.
Bamberger: J-Spieth. More big-league experience.
Lynch: Spieth. He's quietly racking up the kinds of finishes that build experience and confidence, and those are two valuable commodities to have acquired at age 19.
Reiterman: I'll say Spieth, only because he's had a lot more success on the PGA Tour. But I admire Uihlein taking the more interesting road to the big leagues.
Passov: I admire Uihlein a lot for trying to prove himself -- and grow as a person and player -- by doing the globetrotting thing, but I can't figure out if he's under more pressure or less for being the son of Titleist/FootJoy majordomo Wally Uihlein. When you're not hurting for cash, it's hard to know how hungry you are. Spieth just has an incredible attitude. He's always been really mature for his age, great sense of humor and perspective. He seems to have the game to back it up. I like 'em both--but my money's on Spieth.
Van Sickle: I'd take Spieth. He's played his way onto the PGA Tour while Uihlein had to go overseas to find a place to play. I'd say Spieth's game and career are a little further developed than Peter's. But he's still got plenty of time. It's hard to get a foot in the door on the PGA Tour. Spieth already has that. Peter doesn't.
Godich: I'll take Spieth. He has accomplished more while playing on a better tour, and he's a couple of years younger than Uihlein. Plus, he played with the pressure of having to perform to earn temporary status for the rest of the year. And he responded. I can't wait to see how he fares back home at the Byron Nelson, where he contended for three rounds during his high school days.