The week after The Open, the golf world saw a caddie get fired mid-round, a young talent win again, and a budding LPGA superstar add another title. We tackle these issues and more in this week's Four-Ball.
1. What do you make of Robert Allenby's latest unsavory golf news?
SportsCenter anchor Matt Barrie: I'm entertained. I really am. This guy continues to be a reality show on and off the course. He fires his caddie, picks out a fan to carry his bag. He's taking shots through the media. He shows up mysteriously beaten up in Hawaii. He's not competitive in tournaments, but still making headlines. What's not to like?
SportsCenter anchor Jonathan Coachman: When things start going bad in someone's life, it can be trickle-down effect. The common denominator here is Allenby himself. It's stressful to not play well but it's not OK to take it out on your caddie. He might get to a point where he won't be able to get a credible caddie on the bag. It's sad to see for a golfer who used to be good go down this path.
ESPN.com senior golf analyst Michael Collins: I see this as a desperate act by a desperate guy trying to blame everyone but himself for his poor play. He's not the first golfer to act this way towards a caddie, and he won't be the last. What he may have learned this incident is: Be careful who you attack and make allegations towards. They could come back to bite you.
ESPN.com senior golf writer Bob Harig: It's not a surprise, really. Allenby has a reputation for being a caddie killer, making life miserable for many who have carried his bag over the years. There are two sides to every story, but it is always important to remember that the golfer, ultimately, has the final say. He hits the shots. To lay blame anywhere else is lame.
ESPN.com senior golf writer Jason Sobel: This is the second major story revolving around Allenby this year and there's a prevailing theme within each one: Nothing has ever been his fault. Amongst the excuses and accusations, I'd love to see some contrition and accountability from him at some point. There's a reason why neither story would ever surface with so many other professionals.
2. Is Jason Day the best current player to have never won a major?
Barrie: Without question. He's always in the mix come major tournament time. And like a said a couple weeks back, he'll win multiple. And if this weekend is any indication, it appears Day has figured out the putter. Down the stretch yesterday, Day managed to birdie the final three holes to win the tournament. If that club stays consistent, he could win the PGA Championship this year.
Coachman: There is no question that Day is far and away the best player who doesn't have a major. It's not close. He continues to finish top 10 or top 5 in majors and it's only a matter of time before he gets his first. He can play on any golf course and in any weather. And he has a unique way of getting up for the Canadian Open just as he would for a major. It's about winning every time ... sounds like a certain playing partner Day practices with some weeks.
Collins: If we're matching resumés, I'd still take Sergio Garcia over Day for best player without a major. At 35 years old, Garcia has 19 combined wins on the PGA (eight) and European (11) tours, while the 27-year-old Day has four wins on the PGA Tour. If Day doesn't have a major by the time he hits 30, then I'd be willing to reassess.
Harig: Given his recent success, he certainly makes for a good argument, although I think Dustin Johnson might barely outrank him here, given his total number of victories (nine) and the fact that he's also been in contention at several majors, without a victory.
Sobel: There's a major difference between the terms "best" and "most talented." While I believe Johnson might be the world's most talented golfer not named Rory McIlroy, I do think Day is the best who has never won a major. He owns all the tools, though, and keeps putting himself in position to win one. He's still just 27. It's only a matter of time before it happens.
3. Will Tiger Woods benefit from another week of low-stress, non-major golf?
Barrie: Tiger Woods would benefit from making a cut. Swinging a club. Making a putt. Doing anything he can to get reps. I'm starting believe that Tiger is punting on 2015 to get the swing back and comfortable, to really compete in 2016.
Coachman: Every tournament that Tiger can play is a step forward. He needs to treat it like a major. And have major focus. For him, it's about using the next four months to set himself up for 2016. This year is already a loss even with one more major left. If he can get into contention that will be a giant step forward.
Collins: This week yes, because he's playing on a golf course he's not comfortable or familiar with. They did play the Presidents Cup here in 2000 and '05 but those are such distant memories for Tiger, it won't help. That's good because in order for him to improve, he needs to be in uncomfortable situations (starting or being in contention) on golf courses he's not familiar with.
Harig: If he were playing in anonymity, yes. But since it's Tiger, that is impossible. He will benefit from playing because he simply needs to compete and work through his issues, and he's obviously running out of time in this season. But will it be low-stress? No way. At the tournaments where his foundation benefits, there is an added level of commitment for him anyway. Throw in the issues in his game and all the attention it garners, and that makes for anything but low stress.
Sobel: Without a doubt. It's taken me a while to come around to the idea that at least part of Woods' problems right now are mental and those problems are usually magnified at the bigger tournaments. At the Greenbrier, I watched a player who played with little concern about results and the effect was a swing that often appeared effortless. He needs these baby steps and taking more of them this week could help him bring that to the course for the upcoming PGA Championship.
4. Does Lexi Thompson have the potential to become a household name for the LPGA?
Barrie: Absolutely. She's 20 years old, a five-time LPGA winner and has the game to be around for a decade. Her issue lately had been the mental side of the game, and she's worked hard to get that corrected. If that head syncs up with the talent, things will be good for Thompson and the LPGA.
Coachman: A friend at ESPN said that he wasn't really familiar with Thompson after she won on Sunday. I have to remember not everyone is like me, a golf freak. She has all of the tools to be a superstar. The look, the game, the presence. But she needs to be marketed better. She needs someone to work with her to be that approachable star that can crossover. But as we know, winning will cure a lot.
Collins: Absolutely she does. The cover on Golf Digest caused quite a stir, but her game is what people will be in awe of if she can string a few major wins together in a season. She's the perfect combination of power, looks, and likability that would make her a superstar. Of course, job No. 1 is to win more, then all that other stuff will happen.
Harig: The view here is that she has already achieved that status. Her length off the tee, the fact that she had accomplished so much at a young age and is now adding victories to her resume suggests that Lexi is already a one-name star.
Sobel: I wish she did. I wish she had the game to dominate and the personality to drive up Q ratings. I wish she could become the kind of transcendent star that the LPGA needs. But I just don't see it. And that's not a knock on Thompson, either. I think she's a terrific talent -- but so are many of her peers. I think she's got a good personality, but not the kind which will get casual fans to start paying attention. That said, I hope I'm wrong. The LPGA could use another superstar.