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Sunday, July 6, 2014
Updated: July 7, 10:25 AM ET
Prepping for a major with two majors

ESPN.com

For a change, two of this week's biggest tournaments aren't being played in the United States. That's right, the Scottish Open and Women's British Open will take center stage in the global golf arena.

So where will most eyeballs be fixed? Our scribes dive into those topics and more in the latest edition of Four-Ball.

1. Which tournament will you watch the most this coming week?

Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: It'll be a draw between the Women's British Open (Why is that OK but the men's can only be called "The Open Championship"?) and the John Deere Classic. The Senior U.S. Open and the Scottish will only get glances unless something crazy happens.

Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: The winner at Hoylake is probably in the field this week in the Scottish Open. I will be paying particularly close attention at Royal Aberdeen to Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and especially Phil Mickelson to see what kind of form their games might be in for the Open Championship.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: I'd like to say I will check them all out to some degree, but it's likely to be the Scottish Open and the Women's British. A great chance to check out a couple of well-regarded links in Royal Aberdeen (Scotland) and Royal Birkdale (Women's British).

Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: The Scottish Open. Yes, the time difference won't do well for work/sleep patterns, but some top-notch talent (including defending Open Championship winner Phil Mickelson) will be in the field. Nothing like a tuneup for some great links golf at Royal Liverpool the following week with an appetizer of old-school golf up in Scotland.

2. More impressive: Graeme McDowell winning the same event in consecutive years or coming from 8 shots back to win the French Open?

Collins: Winning the same event, because he had only nine guys to beat going into Sunday, and that guy who was 8 shots clear of McDowell had a very bad day. Defending a title is really hard, but it was made a little easier by the guys in front of him.

Evans: McDowell shot 67 on a very difficult scoring day at Le Golf National, near Paris. That he was able to come from 8 shots back on such a windy, rainy day on a tough course is a spectacular feat.

Harig: The 8-shot comeback. A lot has to go right there for something like that to occur. It's amazing to think that Kevin Stadler could have won by shooting 74. A 75 puts him in a playoff, and he shoots 76. Meanwhile, McDowell shot 67 on a brutal day and it was just one of five rounds in the 60s.

Maguire: The 8 shots, by far. So many things had to go Gmac's way for that to happen, including Mother Nature rearing her ugly head. One has to wonder, if the weather again turns poor at the Open Championship, will McDowell contend to claim major No. 2?

3. What did we learn about Angel Cabrera on Sunday at the Greenbrier Classic?

Collins: We learned that "El Pato" still has the killer instinct when he gets in contention of a regular tour event. After the heartbreak of losing to Adam Scott a couple of years ago at the Masters, the 44-year-old still has the fight of a 20-year-old.

Evans: The 44-year-old Argentinian proved that he could finally win a PGA Tour event other than his two majors, the U.S. Open and the Masters. He's too good of a ball-striker to have won only three events in the U.S. He can get his game up on any stage.

Harig: That he can actually win a significant event outside of a major. Forget that the win at the Greenbrier was his first on the PGA Tour aside from his 2007 U.S. Open and 2009 Masters victory. It was also his first non-major win anywhere on either the PGA Tour or European Tour since claiming the 2005 BMW PGA Championship. Either Cabrera is an immense underachiever or he has incredible timing.

Maguire: That he can win something other than a major on the PGA Tour (not that anyone's complaining about 2007 U.S. Open and 2009 Masters titles). After that hole-out eagle at No. 13, it looked like Cabrera had everything sewn up. Alas, back-to-back bogeys on the next two holes changed that tune awfully quickly.

4. Thumbs up or thumbs down to the new WGC-Match Play?

Collins: Thumbs down. I understand the reasoning behind it for the corporate sponsors (keeping the big names around longer), but by doing so it cheapens the term "match play." Call it something else ... "round robin" or "knockout." Heck, call it "wolf" if you want, but "match play"? This is no longer appropriate.

Evans: The new format will give every player at least three matches. This guarantees that marquee names like Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Bubba Watson will be around at least a few days, regardless of what they do on the course. This is great for the sponsors and fans and good for golf. No one benefits from an event starved of star power.

Harig: Thumbs up. Sponsorship and playing date issues need to be resolved beyond 2015, but the new round-robin, knockout format is a strong move meant to keep more suspense through three days and marquee names competing longer. Now everyone will compete for at least three days.

Maguire: Thumbs up. The new round-robin format solves most, if not all, of the problems where the golf got less exciting as the week went on, but that doesn't mean the system is perfect. One would have to think a few tweaks to the system will still occur, but I'll be curious to see whether the change in date to May still keeps some of golf's biggest names away from the format.