What to make of Moore's playoff win?
And was the Tiger Woods-Rory McIlroy exhibition in China worth watching?
In the first PGA Tour event in Asia to feature full FedEx Cup points, Ryan Moore won the CIMB Classic in a Monday morning playoff in Malaysia. So what is Moore's career arc looking like after this victory? And what would be the perfect playoff hole?
Our scribes tackle those topics and more in this week's edition of Monday Four-Ball.
1. With a stellar amateur record and now three PGA Tour wins, what's the next step for Ryan Moore?
Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: Once you've got three tour wins under your belt, it's time to start expecting top-5 or better in majors. That may be a big ask for a guy whose best finish in a major is a tie for ninth, at the 2006 PGA Championship. Is there a reason we haven't asked more of a man who is one of only six to make it onto the PGA Tour without having to go to Q-school?
Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Moore is as talented and mature as any of the top guys in that batch of late 20s to mid-30s players who make up the core of the tour's elite. He should win regularly, compete in the majors and make the upcoming U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: To be a factor more often. Moore seems to go weeks, months, without his name being prominent. It has been a strange journey for such an accomplished amateur, one of the greats of all time. Injuries didn't help, but perhaps a run of good form is what he needs.
Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: I'd like to say contend in the major championships, but his track record in those events just isn't there yet. That might be two steps ahead because he has notched only two top-10s in majors and none since the 2009 U.S. Open. Getting into the mix a few times in Grand Slam tournaments next year would be a good start, though.
2. The CIMB Classic playoff was on a par-5. Pick your favorite hole in golf that would be perfect for a 1-hole playoff.
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Collins: No question, it's the 17th at TPC Scottsdale. A reachable par-4 with water left. When the pin is back left, and you bail out right off the tee, the flop shot is all but impossible. It's a birdie hole that could see both awesome and disastrous results in a playoff.
Evans: The 510-yard par-5 13th hole at Augusta National would be my top choice because of the wonderful history of the hole and its nature of risk/reward. You step on that tee with your heart set on a birdie or an eagle, but one mistake and you walk off the green with an easy bogey after finding Rae's Creek with your second shot. Plenty have seen their hopes of a green jacket end in these shallow waters.
Harig: The 12th at Augusta National. Par-3s are generally scorned in sudden death, but the allure of one of the most famous holes in golf is too much to ignore. The difficulty of pulling a club during the tournament is tough enough, a playoff even more so. It was also a shame that when the Masters started on the 10th for sudden death (it now goes to the 18th), a playoff never reached No. 12.
Maguire: A par-5 would prove to be the greatest test because players will have to make two, three full swings under intense pressure. That being said, I'd go with the 15th hole at Augusta National. It doesn't necessarily favor one particular ball flight (unlike, say, the 13th at the home of the Masters) so it makes it more of an even playing field. The chances for birdies are great, but eagles and bogeys certainly come into play, too.
3. True or false: Rory McIlroy will qualify for the season-ending European Tour event.
Collins: True. There's no cut at the WGC-HSBC Champions and only a field of 77. Now subtract the PGA Tour players who are not in the Race to Dubai and you start to see how easily he will jump guys on the European Tour who aren't able to tee it up this week.
Evans: True. At 62nd, McIlroy is outside of the top 60 that make it to the season-ending event. After the embarrassment of not making it to the FedEx Cup finale at the Tour Championship, his ego will spur him to a good finish at the WGC-HSBC Champions to get comfortably inside the number.
Harig: True. He has a much easier path given that several players in front of him did not even qualify for the WGC-HSBC Champions. And because there is no cut, McIlroy, who is 62nd in the standings, is in good shape to move up. But he needs to. He's not scheduled to play next week in Turkey.
Maguire: True, but that's a little by default, with the no-cut HSBC Champions event this coming week in China counting on both the PGA Tour and European Tour money lists. McIlroy needs to get into the top 60 in the Race to Dubai standings. He's got the HSBC this week and the Turkish Airlines Open next week to make a move. Never thought we'd be asking this question at the start of 2013, though.
4. Tiger-Rory exhibition event in China: Worth watching or waste of time?
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Collins: Waste of time. It's only drama when they beat everyone else and then have a battle on Sunday coming down the stretch (a la Honda Championship in 2012) You know why 99 percent of pay-per-view fights aren't worth it? Because they never live up to the hype. Ever see Tiger or Rory drop a 62 and 63 in one of these things?
Evans: It's a waste of time. As a kid I enjoyed watching the old telecast of Shell's Wonderful World of Golf, but Tiger doesn't know how to enjoy himself in an exhibition. He's treating this like a real tournament and it's nothing more than just an opportunity to get two of the most popular players in the game together without the interference of a full field. It promises to be dull, with little on the line that matters to either player. Wait until they meet each other in the final round of the Masters, with the green jacket on the line. That would be something to see.
Harig: For entertainment purposes, it is perfectly fine. But it matters not at all, regardless of the outcome.
Maguire: Any time two of the game's best go head-to-head -- no matter how far McIlroy has fallen this year -- it makes it worth watching. Is it the final round of the U.S. Open with a title on the line? Of course not. It is compelling golf, though, because we don't often get to see the top names in the game tee it up this time of year.
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