Consistent Matt Kuchar on top again
And what's next for Michelle Wie after her first win on U.S. soil?
This week showed us some winners who took years to break through with their next victory (Michelle Wie and Lee Westwood) while other champions (Matt Kuchar) turned strong recent play into a trip to the winner's circle.
So what's the impact of their recent triumphs?
FOLLOW GOLF ON ESPN
Stay up to date with the latest news, stories and analysis.
Follow ESPNGolf on Twitter
Our scribes dive into those topics and more in the latest edition of Four-Ball.
1. After knocking on the door for a month, Matt Kuchar broke through with a dramatic victory at Harbour Town. How high can his stock rise?
Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: How high can a stock go if a major championship win is never in the cards? If you look at all the guys who've had successful careers without winning majors, there's only one in the Hall of Fame that I can think of off the top of my head without using Google: Colin Montgomerie. Would Kuchar trade that kind of career for one major?
Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: In terms of consistency, Kuchar is as solid as they come on the PGA Tour. But of late, the 35-year-old former U.S. Amateur champion hasn't performed well in final rounds. His 64 on Sunday at the RBC Heritage was his first under-par score in a final round since he shot 66 to finish in a tie for eighth at the Sony Open in January. If Kuchar wants to earn that first major championship this year, he must become a more consistent finisher.
Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: It is already quite high, for the type of player that he is: one who is able to put himself in contention often without doing anything dazzling. All of a sudden, those three near-misses now look pretty good leading into a victory, and there is no reason to think he won't remain the most consistent player in golf, if not a huge winner.
Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: He's got seven PGA Tour wins, including a Players Championship, a WGC title and a playoff event. There's only one thing lacking, and that's a major, but we just finished up the one that he's probably got the best shot at winning each year: the Masters. Since 2010, he's missed just two cuts in majors and posted six top-10s, half of which have come at Augusta National. So he's proved that he can hang around the lead at a major, but it's just not as likely as we head to the summer months.
2. Luke Donald (T-2 at Hilton Head) still hasn't won on the PGA Tour in more than two years. What does the former world No. 1 need to do to turn around his game?
Collins: There's nothing wrong with his game. Winning on tour is just hard, especially if you're a short hitter who isn't great at hitting fairways. The bad news is the younger guys are getting shorter; the good news is they will still play courses like Riviera, Innisbrook and Harbour Town on tour, so Donald will get his opportunities.
Evans: The 36-year-old Englishman is working on a new golf swing and last week at Harbour Town showed that he is taking positive steps in his game. But at this point in his career, he must be focused on winning majors. Shooting 79-70 to miss the cut at the Masters is not a good sign of that new swing being major ready. It was dangerous for him to try to reinvent himself so relatively late in his career. His short game, particularly his wedge play inside 100 yards, was always the strongest facet of his game. It's from that base that took him to No. 1 in the world in 2011. At Harbour Town, he seemed to be energized by his command of this aspect of his game.
Harig: He's been working on it with Chuck Cook, and his performance at Hilton Head shows he's on the right track. The idea is to make his swing more consistent, so he doesn't have to hole every putt he looks at. There is still work to do.
Maguire: For Donald in 2014, it's hard to put a finger on one single thing that's haunted him, but don't discount the 36-year-old's drive. He just seems to have one thing go wrong for him at an inopportune time (like a second-round 82 at Doral under rough conditions, or Matt Kuchar holing a bunker shot on the 72nd hole to grab a win). Would you believe only two players in PGA Tour history have earned more money than Donald ($32,063,731) without a major victory (Steve Stricker at $39,724,545; Sergio Garcia at $34,201,580)?
3. How badly does the LPGA Tour need Michelle Wie to get on a winning streak?
Collins: What would be great is if Wie won five or six events (including a major) and Lexi Thompson won five or six events (she already has a major). Throw in a win or two from Lydia Ko than maybe people would tune in. Last year, Inbee Park had to be going for the Grand Slam before people tuned in, and when she didn't convert ... well, you know.
Evans: Wie is the most talented player on the PGA Tour. Her ball-striking comes as close to that of the men as anybody in the women's game. The 24-year-old Hawaiian provides a much-needed American star with pedigree. Nancy Lopez and Annika Sorenstam got the golf world talking when they played great. Wie has that kind of star appeal. If she were to win four or five in a row to solidify her place as the best women's player, it would definitely bring much-needed sponsorships and TV ratings to the LPGA Tour.
Harig: It helps a lot to have her part of the conversation, winning or not. Just being in contention is a huge help. Like Tiger Woods on the men's side, Wie is a name that casual golf fans latch onto and follow. Winning is a bonus.
Maguire: With the upsurge in young talent recently (think major winner Lexi Thompson and rookie sensation Lydia Ko), the LPGA Tour might not need Wie as badly as they did a couple of years ago. A resurgent presence at the top of leaderboards from Wie, though, would go a long way to expanding the tour's footprint across the U.S. as well as globally, since to many casual golf fans, Wie is the name most know. Fortunately for commissioner Michael Whan, Wie actually leads the tour's money list in 2014.
4. Lee Westwood hadn't won on the European Tour in nearly two years. At 41, how much is left in the tank?
Collins: As much as Vijay Singh had at that age. Westwood is in great physical shape and still hungry to win a major, which I still believe might be in the cards for him, despite the crashes and burns he's had in past majors. I expect at least five more years of success.
Evans: Westwood's tank is full. He's American-based now, important mostly because three of the four majors are held in the States. And no one wants a major more than this Englishman, who with a tie for eighth at the Masters had his 12th top-10 in a major since 2008.
Harig: Plenty. His age should not be a factor. Westwood is still among the game's premier ball-strikers, and while his experimentation with Sean Foley didn't pan out, there seems to be some improved short-game play. That has always been what has held Westwood back.
Maguire: It's hard to say, but until recently, Westwood hadn't really done much of anything anywhere around the globe. His seventh-place finish at the Masters was his first top-10 in 10 PGA Tour starts in the wraparound 2013-14 season, so hopefully something did click in his Malaysian Open victory. We'll need a slightly larger body of work before proclaiming that the former world No. 1 is "back" to his status of major championship contender.
MORE GOLF HEADLINES
- Stricker has surgery to alleviate pain in hip
- Atwal rallies to win Dubai Open by 1 shot
- Scott settles on Kerr after caddie tryouts
- Golfer, 103, may be oldest to hit hole in one