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Each week, golf writer Bob Harig will take your questions and answer a few select ones on ESPN.com. Below are this week's selections.
I'm going to borrow some terminology from The Sports Guy....let's say you are made Czar of Golf for a month, and can change anything you wish about the professional game, both the PGA and the European Tour. What do you think are a few things that need to be changed about the game? And how do you approach or change these things?
-- James Newell
|One of Bob Harig's suggestions to improving professional golf would be to require players already eligible for the season-opening, winners-only Hyundai Tournament of Champions to actually play the event in Hawaii each year.|
Harig: How much time do we have? How much space?
Here are a few of the things I'd do:
1. On the PGA Tour, start the season a bit later so as not to go up against the NFL playoffs. If that is impossible, have the Hawaiian tournaments played Tuesday through Friday so they could be shown in prime time.
2. Cut back to two World Golf Championship events, leaving the Match Play alone and moving the Bridgestone overseas to be played the week prior to or after the British Open on a links. The Doral and Firestone WGCs would revert to regular tour events -- and they were great ones before becoming WGCs.
3. Declare the season-opening Tournament of Champions to be mandatory for anyone eligible. Players have a lot of latitude to pick their schedules. Requiring them to play one tournament should not be a bad thing.
4. Reduce the PGA Tour playoffs to three events, and move them to different venues every year. Expand the fields to include players not in the playoffs so the tournaments could be full fields.
5. Push the playoffs back -- they already are played in football season. Put two more tournaments in front of them and then have the Tour Championship be the final official event, with no Fall Series.
6. And if all that gets accomplished, how about a tournament after Europe's Race to Dubai for the leading players on both tours? Rotate it between Europe and the United States each year.
Tiger has difficulty taking his range game to the course. I don't feel so bad. I was always told by my swing coach (dad) that the longest walk in golf is the one from the range to the first tee.
-- Mark Gustafson
Harig: It is interesting to hear Tiger relegate his issues to the most simplest of terms -- trying to do the same thing on the course that you do on the range. Most people who play golf can relate. The guess here is, it's a bit more complicated than that.
Who has more pressure on them this week -- Tiger or Westwood? Tiger trying to get his swing consistent or Westwood coming off two bad outings, people questioning his No. 1 status without never winning a major -- I think Westwood does.
-- Edward Virgona
Harig: Woods plays with pressure every week because so much is expected of him, no matter his form. I don't think it compares for anyone else. Now whether he feels the pressure is another matter, but you do get the sense that is why he plays a limited schedule, because the expectations are so immense every time he tees it up. I do agree that Westwood is under some pressure to justify his ranking, but the guess here is that he simply wants to get his game back on track above everything else.
I get so tired of hearing Phil Mickelson's name mentioned with Tiger's. Come on! 14 majors to only 4, not including almost double the amount of wins. Plus he's four years younger than Phil. (Everyone talks about Tiger's getting older). They don't mention Tom Watson's name with Jack's Nicklaus' -- sure they've won majors but to put them in the same class is ridiculous. Phil needs to be put and kept in the same category as the Els, Fuyrks, Harringtons and Singhs of the world. Just because somebody's character and personality appears to be better while the cameras are rolling doesn't mean that their golf game should be elevated to the others, either.
Harig: Well, Philly. How do you really feel? I'm not sure even Phil is being asked to be mentioned on the same level as Tiger. But for much of Tiger's reign at No. 1, Phil was No. 2. And Phil has the most major championships of any other active player of the same era, and the most victories, of anyone not named Tiger. There are different ways to look at this. What Phil has done in the Tiger era is pretty impressive. He's won more tournaments since Tiger turned pro than anyone but Vijay Singh. And you mention his age (he's actually five years older than Tiger), all of which simply highlights how good Tiger has been in his career.Have a question? Send it to Bob Harig's mailbag at BobHESPN@gmail.com to see if it gets used next week.