Four-Ball: Debates over Rickie Fowler, Presidents Cup, rankings system

Fowler: Sneaky fourth in the Big Three talk? (2:31)

Can Rickie Fowler put his name into the Big Three talk and make it a Big Four? He discussed his Deutsche Bank Championship victory with ESPN.com's Michael Collins. (2:31)

With his victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship, does Rickie Fowler sneak his name into the "Big Three" conversation with Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Jason Day? And who should Jay Haas choose with his Presidents Cup captain's picks on Tuesday night?

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

1. Fact or fiction: Rickie Fowler belongs in the Rory McIlroy-Jordan Spieth-Jason Day conversation.

SportsCenter anchor Jonathan Coachman: Fact. Every time the discussion of the Big Three pops up, Fowler seems to be in the picture. This year, he has proved he belongs by showing up in the biggest events. Going toe-to-toe with Henrik Stenson shows me a lot. There is more to being in the discussion than just what you do on the course. It's performance, off-course popularity and doing it all with the bright lights on you. Fowler definitely belongs.

ESPN.com senior golf analyst Michael Collins: He's close, but he's missing the one thing each of the others have -- a major. Once he cracks that ceiling like Day did, then we have something the last generation didn't -- a Big Four!

ESPN.com senior golf writer Bob Harig: Fiction. Not yet. Fowler had three excellent wins this year, but that only brings him up to Rory's worldwide number and is still behind Spieth and Day -- both of whom have won majors in 2015. Rory, of course, has four of those in his career. Rickie? None. But that doesn't diminish what Fowler has accomplished in a huge year for him. It simply doesn't put him among those three players.

ESPN.com senior golf writer Jason Sobel: There's a major difference between those three players and Fowler. While I don't believe in any of this "Big Three" talk, I do think players who have won major championships can separate themselves from others just a bit. Until Fowler gets his major -- and you'd better believe that he will get one soon -- the other three can subside at a level just above him.

2. You are Jay Haas. Who do you choose as your Presidents Cup captain's picks?

Coachman: The Presidents Cup is not nearly on the level of the Ryder Cup. It's still something the United States dominates. The event is in South Korea and needs viewership. For those reasons, I would select Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. They still move the needle more than anyone else, and this event needs them.

Collins: I'd take Bill Haas and Billy Horschel. I know Haas will perform well for his father, and I want the "fire in the belly" of Horschel for the away game.

Harig: I'm glad I am not Jay Haas, because those vying for the spots -- including his own son, Bill -- have not made this decision easy. No one fighting for a spot is playing particularly well. None could move up. Despite the charges of nepotism, Bill Haas should be one of the picks. When in doubt, you go with the guy who finished 11th. There are not two glaring choices ahead of Haas.

I could make an argument for Mickelson's veteran presence, but that is hard to do when he hasn't done much of late. It will come down to Horschel and Brooks Koepka. Horschel provides a spark. Koepka has the potential to be a future star, which is why putting him on this team offers a chance for him to get experience. Hence, the picks here are Haas and Koepka.

Sobel: Well, the first thing I'd do is call my son, Bill. I'd tell him he's had a great season and that I'm proud of him and I wished I had three captain's picks, because he would be one of them. Then I'd explain that, in the end, Mickelson's experience and leadership and Koepka's ball-striking and firepower were all just a little too much to overlook. And then I'd laugh a little to myself, because if a father snubbing his son isn't enough motivation for him to play some great golf next year, then nothing is.

3. With Spieth taking over the No. 1 world ranking despite missing the cut last week, would the system be better off switching to a one-year rolling calendar?

Coachman: It needs to change to a one-year system. In pro golf, performances can severely change from year to year. A one-year system would more accurately equate who truly is the No. 1 player in the world. This system is too complicated and too long. I believe it will change, especially now that the tour schedule is essentially 48 weeks long.

Collins: No, because the system would still be messed up using the same mathematical system. I don't need three super computers to tell me who are the best players in the world. I have eyes and a (small) brain, which is all that is required.

Harig: No, because while we wonder how this sort of thing happens, in the overall scheme of things, it doesn't matter that much. It's good for debate. But the rankings have a big impact on players getting into major championships, and cutting it off to a year can make for some abrupt changes, as well. Rory is still benefiting from what he did in 2014 and that is not necessarily a bad thing.

Sobel: There are some obvious problems with the current OWGR formula, but I don't think the two-year rolling calendar is one of them. I like the fact that if a player is injured or just slumping, the ranking isn't so volatile that he drops off the radar so quickly. As long as the ranking continues to count recent events with more weight than those played a year ago, I'm fine with this part of the formula.

4. Which player who did not qualify for the BMW Championship surprises you the most?

Coachman: I know Adam Scott doesn't play a ton of events, but, in my mind, he is a top-15 player. That is not the case this year, and I don't know if he has been off because of all the changing back and forth with putters and caddies. He didn't even finish in the top 100. How did he not play well enough to do that? With the amount of money in the playoffs, you would think even top players would want to show up and play more to gain points and not be forced to play so well once the playoffs start.

Collins: Adam Scott. And he didn't even qualify for the Deutsche Bank Championship this past week! After returning to the broomstick putter and bringing back Steve Williams, it befuddles me that things never turned around for a player who has one of the most beautiful golf swings in the world.

Harig: Adam Scott. He didn't even make it to the Deutsche Bank, which is shocking in the context of who didn't make it to the BMW. Scott is still ranked 13th in the world. He contended in two major championships. Typically, that should be enough to get you to the third playoff event even with a poor opening playoff tournament. But Scott wasn't even close, which is a clue to how poor he played in 2015.

Sobel: I could have answered this one a week ago. Adam Scott didn't even make it to the Deutsche Bank Championship this week, let alone the BMW. I know his putting has been atrocious, but with that picture-perfect swing, he should be able to putt like me (i.e., not very good) and still glide through to East Lake.