Debating Oldies but Goodies

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Press PassEach week, Golf Channel experts and analysts will offer their thoughts and opinions on hot topics in the world of golf. This week, the Press Pass takes you to Honolulu, Hawaii for the PGA TOUR's Sony Open in Hawaii.

Hot Topic
Vijay Singh has won more times (18) than anyone else in TOUR history in their 40s. Whats the most impressive accomplishment by a player aged 40 or over?

Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Senior Writer, GolfChannel.com:
This ones easy: Jack Nicklaus, age 46, shooting 30 on the final nine holes on Sunday to win the 1986 Masters. Probably the most unforgettable stretch of golf I have ever seen.

Kelly Tilghman Kelly Tilghman - Live Tournament Host, Golf Channel:
With the utmost respect for Jack Nicklaus' 1986 Masters victory, I have to give the nod to Ben Hogan's unforgettable and unmatched 1953 season when he won the Masters, the U.S. Open and the British Open. The only reason he didn't play the PGA was because the schedule conflicted with the British. All of this came just four years after his near fatal car accident which shattered both of his legs.

Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer, GolfChannel.com:
I think Vijay Singhs 2004 season was the most impressive. At the age of 42, Singh won nine times, made nearly $11 million, and usurped Tiger for No. 1 in the world. Such a season was not seen possible by anyone not named Tiger -- let alone by a man in his 40s with a shaky putter.

Rich Lerner Rich Lerner - Reporter, Golf Channel:
Hogan's rebound from near death, Vijay's nine win rampage and Snead's defiance of age (winning a TOUR event at the age of 52) are all very impressive, but Jack's Masters' spine tingler at 46 remains the single most electric moment I've ever seen.

Hot Topic
If you were in Michelle Wie's position, with her abilities, would you go to college?

Hewitt:
Yes, yes and yes. Stanford is, after all, Stanford. Plus, a lot of people forget that Michelle made close to $20 million last year if you count the off-course endorsement stuff as well as prize money. She is financially secure. Go get a great education and have a great time. There will be plenty of time for golf, 24/7, before all is said and done. Remember, she is just 17 years old.

Tilghman:
Attending college is a very personal decision. I would never be one to tell someone if they should or shouldn't do it. With that said, I can honestly say that if I had to go to college all over again, I would. I found it to be four of the most unforgettable and rewarding years of my life. I respect the fact that Michelle Wie is pursuing her degree while she pursues her dream of playing professional golf. I just hope that one doesn't take away from the other.

Baggs:
No, but only because I always viewed college as a vehicle to get me a better job and better pay than I would have gotten had I not gone. She already has these things. If I were her, Id join the LPGA full time, grab the reigns from Annika, and dominate the tour like nobodys business. But thats me. For however long she goes to college, I hope she enjoys it. And it is nice to see her doing what she wants to do with her life.

Lerner:
I would go to college primarily to gain a degree of independence, away from her parents.

Hot Topic
How many events, if any, will Wie win this year -- assuming she stays healthy?

Hewitt:
I think Michelle will win at least once on the LPGA. The Kraft Nabisco Championship in late March would not be a bad pick.

Tilghman:
I have to believe that Michelle Wie will win a women's event this year. She recorded a ridiculous amount of top-5s on the LPGA Tour in 2006 and three of them came in major championships. If she gets into somewhat of a flow in her 2007 playing schedule, it could easily happen.

Baggs:
Multiple times. If she wins a tournament early, say, the Kraft Nabisco, then she could collect two or three titles. Id be very surprised if she was shutout again on the LPGA. Then again, these were my same thoughts a year ago.

Lerner:
Michelle will win one tournament this year.

Hot Topic
The Sony Open is the first chance for Q-school and Nationwide Tour grads to compete in 07. Who among them will have the best season this year?

Hewitt:
I really like Paul Stankowski, if hes healthy, as a longshot pick for Comeback Player of the Year. Stanko has a lot of talent. Anthony Kim, also a Q-school grad, is the early favorite for Rookie of the Year. Off the Nationwide Tour, keep your eye on Aussie Andrew Buckle. And I think the time may have come for Cliff Kresge to stick on the big TOUR.

Tilghman:
A lot of signs point toward Anthony Kim. He's young, talented and already has a good deal of competitive experience against the best players in the world. Nike thinks so much of him that they gave him a contract with a head-to-toe deal. He could be the one to watch.

Baggs:
Nationwide Tour graduates usually fare better, on the whole, than their Q-school brethren. Ill go with Johnson Wagner, who won twice last year on the Nationwide Tour and made 25 of 28 cuts. I also like Kevin Stadler, who has won on the Nationwide and European tours, and has some experience on the PGA TOUR.

Lerner:
Michael Putnam strikes me as a strong, young talent who could shine quickly.

Related Links:

  • Full Coverage - Sony Open in Hawaii
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