Alternate ShotAugust 3, 2018

Are these "super group" pairings worth all the fuss? Two editors debate

U.S. Open - Round Two
Streeter LeckaSOUTHAMPTON, NY - JUNE 15: Dustin Johnson of the United States putts on the tenth green as Tiger Woods of the United States and Justin Thomas of the United States during the second round of the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on June 15, 2018 in Southampton, New York. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The PGA Championship's grouping of Tiger Woods, Rory McIroy and Justin Thomas next week at Bellerive continues a trend of late of putting marquee players into "super groups" at big events. Jon Rahm, Justin Rose and Jordan Spieth will also play together, and this is to say nothing of the traditional PGA group of the year's three previous major champions, Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka and Francesco Molinari. There are two ways to look at such concentrated collection of talent—one is that it creates extra buzz around a handful of tee times; the other is that it forces an extra level of scrutiny onto certain players while rendering everyone else irrelevant. Which side is right? Two editors debate.

What's wrong with spicing things up?

It's come to this, huh? We're so desperate to find fault in something that we're actually complaining about seeing too many great golfers playing together? That Tiger Woods being paired with Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas the first two days of the PGA Championship is actually a bad thing? What's next? Whining there are too many great action scenes in "Raiders of the Lost Ark"? Sure, these groups have a tendency to cause some on-course traffic jams, but they also create an electric atmosphere and can actually make it easier for fans to see—even if it's just a glimpse—more big names. And if you're watching on TV—like 99 percent of golf fans—why are you butting in? This really doesn't affect you other than seeing these superstars interact (or not interact) with each other as CBS goes to another commercial break. So sit back and enjoy. These are precious pairings that should be appreciated, not criticized. Wake up, people. —Alex Myers

When there's too much of a good thing.

The problem with super groups, with the exception of the Traveling Wilburys and maybe Cream, is that they detract from a dynamic that usually works. The super-group pairing makes for a great headline, but in practice, it ends up being three guys who swallow up all of a tournament's oxygen, and create empty pockets in the tee sheet. By contrast, spreading the best players out means there's always someone worth watching throughout the day. And on those rare occasions when the stars get paired together on the weekend based on their scores, the novelty factor still feels fresh. —Sam Weinman