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Four-Ball Extra: Scott's resurgence, Rory's worries

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Scott working his way into Masters conversation (2:37)

ESPN's Gene Wojciechowski and Bob Harig examine Adam Scott's victory at the Honda Classic and what it means going forward with the year's first major on the horizon. (2:37)

From Adam Scott's return to the winner's circle to Rory McIlroy's missed cut and Tiger Woods' swing in a simulator, there was so much happening in the golf world this past week, we just couldn't limit the questions to four.

Our scribes weigh in on those topics and more in this week's edition of Monday Four-Ball.

1. If you were handicapping the Masters right now, where do you rank Adam Scott?

SportsCenter anchor Matt Barrie: Adam Scott is firmly in my top 5 at Augusta with Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy and Hideki Matsuyama.

SportsCenter anchor Jonathan Coachman: I would have to consider Scott a favorite, but after seeing the greens at Augusta last year for the first time, it was apparent to me that it takes a player with an incredible touch to win there. Adam Scott just went through a big change with his putter. How will his confidence be when he has to putt 25 feet over two hills. I just don't think that it will hold up. But he is hitting the ball so well that he won't be far off.

ESPN.com senior golf analyst Michael Collins: Inside the top 10, but not inside the top 5. He didn't putt exceptionally well, and in an interview he said he still isn't of the mindset that he's the best putter in the world. Going to Augusta, he knows in his mind he has to have a cocky attitude toward his putting.

ESPN.com senior golf writer Bob Harig: He would certainly be on the short list of favorites because he's clearly got his game turned around and in a good place. Winning breeds confidence. Then again, the track record of Florida winners at the Masters is not the greatest. It does not always mean much.

ESPN.com senior golf writer Jason Sobel: Right around fifth -- but man, those top 10 or so are pretty bunched about. I think you've got to put Spieth up there based on his recent track record; I still think McIlroy will be a serious contender; Phil Mickelson is getting his game in shape to peak for Masters week; and I still have a feeling Patrick Reed is going to make some noise. Granted, those are more my picks than a handicapper's ranking, but I think Scott would/should be around fifth either way.

2. Thumbs-up or thumbs-down to Augusta National possibly adding distance to the par-5 13th hole?

Barrie: Thumbs-up. Players like Bubba, who can move their ball right to left, sometimes have an easy iron shot into the green, almost leaving no chance or decision on the second shot. Adding some length gives us some decision-making intrigue come the weekend.

Coachman: I would be all for it. Right now it doesn't take much to get home in two. I would love to see a much more severe risk-reward -- that if you don't go on the right line then you simply can't get home in two. I would love to see it. Right now par loses a shot to the field. It doesn't have to be that way. I think it would be cool.

Collins: A conditional thumbs-up. No one wants to see Bubba hitting a pitching wedge into a par-5, especially at the Masters, but what I don't want is the field being punished because two or three guys can fly it more than 330 yards. Augusta National has superpowers when it comes to course manipulation, so I know officials there can accomplish this feat.

Harig: Thumbs-down. Let's hope that is not part of the proposed plan to buy more land. The 13th is a great hole as it is. The risk-reward remains very real. If you move that tee back, perhaps it becomes a bland 3-shot hole.

Sobel: I love when the USGA (and other governing bodies) turns holes into de facto par-4s, making the players put a little more brainpower into playing them. And that's what the 13th had become. But I also love tradition. So I'm fine with Augusta National potentially buying that tradition and keeping the hole as a true par-5 instead.

3. When should we hit the "concerned" button for Rory McIlroy?

Barrie: Not now. McIlroy's problem seems to reside between his ears, especially with the short game. For whatever reason, that 75 from Riviera Country Club at the Northern Trust Open lingered this week at a course he's struggled with for two years.

Coachman: Right now. I say all the time that confidence is everything. Until the final round at Riviera, I was all about McIlroy. But since then it has been baffling to figure out why his wedges are so off, why he his short game is not tight and whether the pressure is starting to get to him. Whatever it is, McIlroy has always been a player who can be a real hit, but his misses are real misses. I am still worried he won't be ready in April for the one major he has left to win.

Collins: I won't be concerned for McIlroy until we get to the Masters and he hasn't been in contention in a tournament leading up to Augusta. I don't need him to win, but I want him to be in the hunt Sunday on the back nine. If we get to the WGC-Match Play with McIlroy having no real chances to win, everyone should be extremely concerned.

Harig: McIlroy could play poorly and still find his game at the Masters. Even an early exit at the Match Play doesn't necessarily mean much. Doral gives him a guaranteed four rounds, and it's a place where he's never really shined. Maybe if he doesn't show much at Bay Hill in a few weeks it would be time to worry, but even that wouldn't necessarily mean he's in trouble.

Sobel: Um, when he misses more than one cut in a row, I guess. Sorry, but I just can't get too worked up about a missed cut at the Honda Classic in the wake of a final-round 75 at the Northern Trust Open. Players like McIlroy always tell us they want their games to peak four times per year. Well, guess what? This wasn't one of those times.

4. U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III didn't invite Justin Thomas to the team gathering last week. Right call or bad decision?

Barrie: I'm indifferent. What does it hurt to invite him?

Coachman: Wrong call. Thomas is dynamic and has proved he can play with anyone. How do you not invite him? He has a win this season, and now after a top-10 at the Honda Classic on one of the hardest tracks on tour, Thomas has proved that he should be around come Ryder cup time. From what I know, Love will want a player like Thomas on it. He loves playing match play, loved the bright lights, and I think that he and best friend Jordan Spieth would make a dynamic duo.

Collins: Any time someone has to say, "It was a simple oversight," means someone, somewhere is getting severely chewed out. Who's a better choice for the U.S. team right now, Justin Thomas or Keegan Bradley? I'm not trying to throw Bradley under the bus, but to have him there and not have Thomas? That whole "team-building" thing the task force was formed to help just earned an epic fail!

Harig: It was an unfortunate oversight apparently. If going by the Ryder Cup points list, Thomas is way down the pecking order. But that's mostly because his victory in Malaysia meant nothing points-wise. He just tied for third at the Honda, and he's one of the top American players. The guess is he would have loved to have been there to glean some knowledge from Jack Nicklaus.

Sobel: Based on the bevy of random faces at Nicklaus' house for the team dinner, I didn't think we'd be criticizing Captain Love for not inviting someone. There was Andrew Loupe and Jason Kokrak and Zac Blair -- but no Justin Thomas? That's a poor oversight, unless it's a stroke of genius from the captain, who apparently just lit a fire under Thomas after he finished T-3 at the Honda Classic.

5. What did the Tiger Woods 13-second swing video mean to you?

Barrie: It meant Tiger wanted to stick it to his critics. It means he can walk. And it means he can hit a 9-iron. That's about it.

Coachman: It just meant that the reports were way off. It does not, however, make me think he is anywhere close to coming back, but he is certainly not rolling around in a wheelchair. It also tells me Tiger is paying attention and watching what is being said about him. And I like that. It means he wants to set us all straight.

Collins: It meant our biggest fear might be happening. Let's not act as though this is the first time. Remember this song? Tiger gets antsy, starts working back into form, doesn't tell anyone when he overdoes it, comes back, says he's "all good, feel ready to compete." Four weeks later, he's out again.

Here' a better idea. Make the plan to return no sooner than January 2017, no matter how "great" you think you feel. So we don't have to play that old song anymore.

Harig: Only that he's healthier than was feared. Aside from that, it doesn't mean much.

Sobel: It meant that he's not so physically frail that he can't swing; it meant that he wanted to prove that to plenty of doubters; and most importantly, it meant that he really does want to come back as soon as possible. I know that sounds obvious, but for a guy who's accomplished so much already and returned from so many injuries, we're allowed to question whether the motivation is still there. Apparently it is.