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Monday, May 20, 2013
Bae's first PGA Tour win a doozy

ESPN.com

Sang-Moon Bae fired a 1-under 69 in the final round Sunday to overtake Keegan Bradley and record his first win on the PGA Tour at the Byron Nelson. Our experts analyze that and other pressing topics in golf in our latest edition of Monday Four-Ball:

Sang-Moon Bae

1. Did Sang-Moon Bae win the HP Byron Nelson Championship, or did Keegan Bradley lose it?

Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: Bae won. First, it's extremely hard to hold a lead for three nights, and not many people do it. But more importantly, on a day when winds were gusting close to 30 mph and only six guys shot better than 2 under, Bae shot 69 and won. Also, he was one of only three to shoot four rounds in the 60s.

Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Bae really won the tournament on Sunday with four birdies in his first seven holes to take a commanding lead. Then he just held on through some very poor ballstriking on the back nine to take his first career win. Bradley shot a 2-over 72 in his final round. It's next to impossible to win on the regular PGA Tour with a finish like that.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Bae had a strong final round, but it is hard not to think Bradley let this one get away. He shot a first-round 60, led after each of the first three rounds and had bounced back to forge a tie late in the final round before missing a 4-footer that cost him the lead for good.

2. Graeme McDowell has won twice in a month, the latest his win at the Volvo Match Play Championship. How does he stack up as a contender for the U.S. Open at Merion?

Collins: McDowell will be Tiger Woods' biggest threat at the U.S. Open. And even though he missed the cut at The Players, he won on a tough, tight golf course in Hilton Head. Merion is a course that should fit McDowell well if it's firm and fast. Don't forget he finished tied for fifth at the WGC Match Play earlier this year, so if he gets in a playoff, he won't blink.

Evans: G-Mac has to rank up there with Tiger when we talk about favorites at Merion. No matter how a course shapes up for your game, there is nothing like the confidence of winning.

Harig: Regardless of his win Sunday, G-Mac has always seemed to be a strong choice for Merion. Merion should be similar in style -- on the short side, with small greens -- to Harbour Town, where he won last month. And the 2010 U.S. Open champion tied for second last year at Olympic.

Sorenstam

3. This week marks the 10-year anniversary of Annika Sorenstam playing at the Colonial. Is it a good idea or a bad idea for women to play in men's events?

Collins: It's a great idea. I'd be lying if I didn't say I believe in our lifetime we will see a woman make the cut in a PGA Tour event. Annika had an amazing first round. Michelle Wie came close after two rounds in 2004. Those two occasions were huge for the game of golf regardless of gender. Imagine what it will be like when a woman plays the weekend!

Evans: Bad idea. The women have a strong tour. There is no reason ever to play in an event just to check off a box on your career achievements. I hope we remember Annika more for her 72 LPGA Tour wins than we do for the time she played with the men.

Harig: In Sorenstam's case, it was a good idea, one that showed how talented she was -- despite her missing the cut. But, generally, what is the point? For Wie, trying to qualify for or play in men's events ended up hurting her game, although it brought great attention, which is ultimately the point. It has to be a special, unique case.

4. The long-awaited decision on anchored putting is due Tuesday. After months of wrangling, how do you think this will play out?

Collins: I think the two-and-a-half years to implement are the cushion needed for the court battle that's coming if this happens. I wonder how many judges use an anchored putter? Would they have to excuse themselves? Or if a judge didn't anchor, could he/she be fair and unbiased? Every judge I know golfs. Seriously, though, both sides say the sky is falling, but, no matter what happens, in 10 years, it won't be a big deal either way.

Evans: The USGA will go ahead with the proposed ban. I don't see how it would backtrack now, regardless of the sentiments of the PGA Tour. But I do think the ruling bodies will make a concession by leaving the door open for different sets of rules for amateurs and for pros.

Harig: The USGA/R&A are going to go ahead with the ban they proposed back in November. But that won't be the end of the story. Will the PGA Tour go along? Or will it enact the ban earlier than 2016, when it would go into effect? Will anybody sue? Anchored putters will continue to be a big topic of discussion.