McIlroy eyes 4th in a row at Barclays
And who might have caught Tom Watson's eye this week?
He's 25, owns four major titles now and has been jetting back and forth across the pond since his PGA Championship win. So what are the odds Rory McIlroy makes it four straight victories this week at the Barclays?
• Defending champion: Adam Scott
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• Venue: Ridgewood Country Club; par-71; 7,319 yards
• Location: Paramus, New Jersey
• TV coverage: Thu., Fri, 2-6 p.m. ET, Golf Channel: Sat., 3-6 p.m. ET on CBS; Sun., 2-6 p.m. ET
• Payout: A 122-man field with winner taking $1.44 million of an $8 million purse
• FedEx Cup Playoffs: Top 100 players in FedEx Cup standings after the Barclays earn a spot at the Deutsche Bank Championship. The top 70 players after the DBC earn entry into the BMW Championship. The top 30 players after the BMW earn entry into the playoffs' finale, the Tour Championship.
• Format: 72-hole stroke play with 36-hole cut to low 70 and ties.
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And how's the potential pool of Ryder Cup captain's picks looking after this week's Wyndham Championship?
Our scribes dive into those topics and more in the latest edition of Four-Ball.
1. On a scale of 1 to 10, what are the chances Rory McIlroy pulls off a fourth straight win this week at the Barclays?
Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: If a 10 guarantees a win on this scale, I'd put it at an 8. Rory's had a whirlwind ride the past week, flying to New York then to the UK and back to New York. As much as I'd like to think it would burn him out, the way he grinded out the PGA Championship, I can't bet against him.
Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: 5. After winning his past three tournaments, including two majors, McIlroy might have the game to win this week at the Barclays, but it's hard to imagine him being able to get up for Week 1 of the playoffs with three more tournaments to come and the Ryder Cup at the end of September. Winning and living at the top of the leaderboard can be mentally exhausting.
Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: A 5. If ever McIlroy is due for a letdown, it is now. He leads the FedEx Cup standings and he's coming off three straight victories. Yes, he's playing well, but since winning at Valhalla, he spent a few days in New York, then headed overseas where he went to a Manchester United football game Saturday, and since has headed back. It is more than understandable if McIlroy doesn't have it this week.
Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: Let's go with a conservative 7. One of the great things about McIlroy is that he knows how to enjoy himself after a big victory (or three in a row, including a pair of majors) and that will serve him well. He's got several commitments on his time in the coming days before he speaks to the media Wednesday at the Barclays, but he's shown in the past few weeks that he can handle everything outside the ropes while still playing like the No. 1 golfer in the world inside the ropes.
2. Who made the biggest move at the Wyndham Championship in terms of impressing U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson?
Collins: It's neck and neck between Webb Simpson and Brandt Snedeker with both men putting four rounds in the 60s together this past week. Both pair well with most guys on the team and both have experience in the Ryder Cup, which also helps. If I'm forced to pick one guy of the two, I'd take Simpson. The major on the résumé will always trump one without it.
Evans: Both Snedeker and Simpson finished T-5 in Greensboro. They both have compelling cases for why they should be considered for the team. Each player gained valuable experience in the 2012 matches at Medinah. Snedeker went 1-2-0 while Simpson went 2-2-0, including 2-0 in four-ball.
Harig: Bill Haas. He finished second in Greensboro, shooting a final-round 64. He's one of the names that Watson should be looking at due to his Presidents Cup experience. It's all about performing now.
Maguire: Snedeker and Simpson, who both finished T-5. The pair has experience in team competitions and each was in the top 20 in the standings after the PGA Championship. Even though someone such as Haas (T-2) finished slightly ahead of Snedeker and Simpson, Haas at 28th in the standings is likely too far down the list to merit serious consideration.
3. What should Watson be looking for in his captain's selections set for Sept. 2?
Collins: Watson better be looking for healthy, hungry and compatible. As Herb Brooks did with the 1980 Miracle on Ice hockey team, you don't necessarily need the best individual, you need the best team guy. That's what it's going to take to win this year. It's about coming together as a team like never before.
Evans: Captain Watson should be looking for three players between 10 and 20 in the standings who have performed the best in playoffs. That's if he genuinely wants players peaking heading into the matches.
Harig: A combination of hot player and team competition experience. That doesn't preclude a rookie from impressing at this point, but the likes of Ryan Moore and Brendon Todd need to do something in these next two tournaments. Otherwise it's likely going to come down to Haas, Snedeker, Simpson and Keegan Bradley for the three picks. Haas, Snedeker and Simpson showed some life in Greensboro.
Maguire: The hot hand should be high on the qualifications list, but also someone who has played in team competitions before who would match up well with some of the nine automatic qualifiers. That's why someone such as Bradley -- who is a perfect pairing for Phil Mickelson -- probably just needs middle-of-the-pack finishes at the Barclays and Deutsche Bank Championship to get the nod (although Watson surely wants him to play better than that.) One top-10 finish from Bradley and he can expect a call from captain Watson prior to Sept. 2.
4. Cameron Tringale basically DQ'd himself from the PGA Championship days after the event finished. A positive for golf or does it make the sport look like a joke?
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Collins: In sports, getting away with breaking a rule is mostly celebrated. To think in an individual sport where a $53,000 paycheck was forfeited for something no one saw but will allow Tringale to sleep better every night says something about what the integrity of the game means to the people who play it. He should be celebrated in the locker room as should his caddie.
Evans: Good for Tringale and the game. His actions speak to the virtues of integrity and honesty that continue to permeate the sport.
Harig: It is far more a positive than a negative, golf being the honorable game that it is. But what makes this situation curious is the fact that it apparently took Tringale five days to come to this conclusion. Obviously had he said nothing, nobody would have ever known, and for that he should be commended.
Maguire: It's great that golf is the only sport where something like this could happen ... and it's less than ideal at the same time. What sport changes the outcome of an event days after it finished? Sure, games get played under protest, but that almost never results in changing the final outcome. In this case Tringale forfeited $53K and of course did the right thing, but what if he was a top-10 finisher, or gasp, the winner? In terms of honor and the spirit of the sport, golf loves to revel in these types of stories, but when it comes to light so long after the tournament ended, it also opens itself up to criticism.