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Saturday, August 24, 2013
Updated: August 27, 1:52 AM ET
Adam Scott's win stirs POY debate

ESPN.com

As the FedEx Cup playoffs makes its first cut, golf fans can only hope the wild finish at the Barclays is a precursor of more excitement to come.

With the playoff field whittled down from 125 down to 100, who might play their way deeper into the playoffs? And what could Adam Scott's Barclays victory mean to his player of the year hopes?

Our scribes answer those questions and more in this week's edition of Monday Four-Ball.


1. True or false: Adam Scott just locked up PGA Tour Player of the Year honors with his Barclays win?

Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: False. It just got more complicated. Even though his overall record in the majors is better than Phil Mickelson's, now they both have two wins on tour this season. So if Mickelson or Tiger Woods wins the Tour Championship, it could knock Scott out.

Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: False. Scott needs to win the FedEx Cup playoffs to take player of the year honors.

Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: False. He might ultimately be player of the year, but in no way has he locked it up. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson still have a big say -- and also happen to be in the top three of the FedEx Cup standings. Scott and Mickelson each have a major and two PGA Tour wins, but Tiger's five victories include a Players and two WGC titles. Makes for a great argument.

Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: True, but only as long as Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson and Jason Dufner don't win any of the last three FedEx Cup playoff events or the overall $10 million payout. Scott has been on the short list since he became the first Australian to don the green jacket, but a playoff victory now makes him the man to beat.


2. In a word, describe Tiger Woods' performance at Liberty National.

Michael Collins: Michael Collins: Flare-ups, kind of like with his back. There were flashes again of that old Tiger charging to a Sunday victory until the old (I mean age this time) Tiger with health issues showed up. He still almost found a way to get into a playoff. And yes, I am jealous that hurt Tiger could still whup me on the course! Haha.

Farrell Evans: Courageous. Tiger played on a sore back and still had a chance to force a playoff on his last hole in the final round.

Bob Harig: Hardy. Woods was clearly having issues with his back before the tournament. The problem maybe even goes back to the final round of the PGA Championship, although it is unclear whether the issues are related. It didn't look as if he was having much fun, yet he managed to shoot all four rounds in the 60s for the first time this year. If it hadn't flared up Sunday on the 13th hole, where he made a disastrous bogey, he might have won. Pretty good stuff.

Kevin Maguire: Gutty. Many players likely would have WD'd midway through the final round when Woods fell to his knees. Instead, he refused to let up and came up just a couple of rotations short of a birdie-birdie-birdie finish that would have put him in a playoff with Adam Scott (and Scott's caddie, Stevie Williams.) That being said, it should also be pointed out that, if Tiger had WD'd, he no longer would have been eligible to win the PGA Tour's award for low scoring average on the season.

3. Amateur Lydia Ko defended her title Sunday at the CN Canadian Women's Open. How high do you set the bar for her?

Michael Collins: I would warn against setting a bar for someone so young. How's Michelle Wie doing? Lexi Thompson was going to be a world-beater, as well. Seems to me as soon as we dub her the "next one," she'll crash and burn. Or at least go into a five-year slump. I say if she's good enough to be better than all the others, she doesn't have a ceiling.

Farrell Evans: Ko is an amateur. It's a different world when you're playing for money. She's obviously very good, but it would be good to see her over a regular schedule. Michelle Wie was better as an amateur. Hopefully, Ko will continue to get better when she becomes a pro.

Bob Harig: It's too early to set it sky high. We've simply seen this too many times in women's golf. Michelle Wie, Morgan Pressel, Lexi Thompson. Lots of gifted teenage golfers for sure. Yet they've struggled to become huge winners as pros.

Kevin Maguire: First off, she shot 30 (30!) on the front nine Sunday. And although this was a title defense, it wasn't even played on the same course as last year. That's stunning. As far as setting the bar, we'll have to see if/when she turns pro, but Ko appears to have the kind of game to be a force for decades. Many around golf don't think Inbee Park's three straight majors in 2013 may ever be matched, but Ko might be the next young player to take a run at that and many other records.

4. What grade do you give Jonas Blixt for stepping up his look to match Rickie Fowler's orange-clad outfit Sunday at the Barclays?

Jonas Blixt and Rickie Fowler
Orange crush? Jonas Blixt, left, and Rickie Fowler, right, decided to wear similar attire on Sunday during the final round of the Barclays.
Michael Collins: Started as an A-plus but ended as an F. It only works if you either wear it on the driving range and change before you play or, if you play with the outfit on, you'd better match or beat the guy you mimic. Two double-bogeys and two triple-bogeys later, how awesome did you feel signing for that 81? Like Fowler at Memorial last year, you say?

Farrell Evans: A for effort.

Bob Harig: C-minus. The effort is appreciated, and it was worth many laughs on the range and as the round began. But you can't then go out and shoot 81. Apparently the pants were too tight.

Kevin Maguire: I'll give him a B, just because it took guts to dress up like that. At least it shows us that not everyone can pull that look off. As for his game Sunday, after shooting an 81, I don't suspect Blixt will be seen in that color ever again.