Sunday, January 15, 2012
Updated: February 6, 11:22 AM ET
Does the 'stache deserve any credit?
Each week during the 2012 PGA Tour season, ESPN's golf experts will weigh in on the pressing -- and not-so-pressing -- issues in the game.
It's Humana Challenge week, which means that the PGA Tour kicks off the West Coast swing in the desert with former President Bill Clinton as tournament host.
And we've started including the best tweets from our readers who posted answers to the questions sent out on our Twitter account, @ESPN_Golf.
1. Sunday at the Sony Open saw a leaderboard logjam of epic proportions. Which final round do you prefer to watch: the bunched leaderboard or a two-man, mano-a-mano battle?
Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf writer: I'd much rather have a bunched leaderboard coming down the stretch. Seems to bring out the best golf in all parties involved. When's the last time there was a bunched leaderboard and four or five guys crashed and burned?
Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: I'm all for parity and bunched leaderboards, but unless it's spectacular golf, it can be like watching a bad soap opera. Bad golf happens too, in two-man races, but more often than not the head-to-head battles bring out the very best in a player. Wouldn't it be a great if golf had a pay-per-view-quality rivalry that could bring new fans to the game?
Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: A leaderboard with numerous possibilities is more intriguing. And we had that for a time at the Sony, with a slew of players having a chance to win before Johnson Wagner broke away. Still, give me what we saw at the Masters last year -- seven different players led Sunday -- at any tournament.
Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: I'm all for the match-play situation. It's probably terrible for TV ratings, but in terms of pure golfing enjoyment, I love watching the back-and-forth of every shot and how the swings in momentum change so quickly. That might be why I'm also psyched that this is a Ryder Cup year. Nothing beats it in terms of pure drama.
@ericmagidson: Leaderboard logjams for sure. Never know who comes out on top.
@fryerbuckwild: 2011 Masters proved logjams are amazing
2. Johnson Wagner earned his third PGA Tour victory Sunday at the Sony Open. Given the copycat nature of the PGA Tour, will the mustache become a staple of players in coming weeks?
Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf writer: I'd say as the year goes on, especially given that Johnson is crediting most of his confidence to the 'stache, we're going to see a bunch more players growing them out. And if another guy with a mustache wins in the next two weeks, look out -- it could get hairy on tour!
Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: It's been a 100 years since a U.S. president wore facial hair (William Howard Taft) and 16 years since Corey Pavin became the first player in a long time to win a major with a mustache, when he won the 1995 U.S. Open. It was somewhere between disco and the Reagan era when men stopped wearing facial hair to work. You can go for years and not see a mustache on Wall Street. Since golf is an extension of that corporate culture, don't expect too many players to start asking Gary McCord for grooming advice on how to give their mustaches the Rollie Fingers treatment.
Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: No. They might copy his mannerisms, his practice routine, his laid-back nature, the specs on his driver. But they'll be making fun of the mustache.
Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: I wouldn't be surprised if a few players grew them; if nothing else, to poke some fun at Wagner. And he's a guy who can dish it out, too.
The week after Lucas Glover won the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black in 2009, Wagner met his good friend on the first tee at the Travelers Championship with a cream pie in the face. Everyone was stunned.
Glover laughed it off, but the scene was more out of a baseball postgame interview than a PGA Tour event. The comedic value showed that Wagner knows how to have a little fun.
@golfmoolah: the stache gave him 3 more yards off the tee
3. With the much-improved field and changed format this year at the Humana Challenge (formerly the Hope), how much credit do you give former President Bill Clinton's new association with the event?
Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf writer:
Clinton might get less than 10 percent of the credit. The real reason the field is so much better is because the top guys are finding out that in order to stay in the positions that get them into all the tournaments, they're going to have to play earlier than normal.
It's the field catching up to the lead group in the Tour de France, and every year the gap between No. 50 on the money list and No. 100 on the money list is closing.
Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: I wish that every organizer of a second-tier PGA Tour event could simply make the prescribed changes to its tournament and lure the best players in the world. But that's wishful thinking. It's probably more likely that stars like Phil Mickelson and Greg Norman are in the field this week at the Humana Challenge because the 42nd president of the United States has attached his name to the event.
Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: There is no doubt that Clinton is having an influence. It is difficult to say no to a former president who is also an avid golfer. But even more influential is the change in format. Going to four days (instead of five), which means one less golf course, is huge. So is having just two amateurs in each group as opposed to four. Even without Clinton, those aspects would have been a big help.
Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: We'll likely hear more about this in the coming week, but just look at who's playing this year, and that tells us all we need to know. Phil Mickelson. Dustin Johnson. Matt Kuchar. And somehow Greg Norman's teeing it up this week? An impressive cast, no doubt.
Tournament directors at PGA Tour stops are always trying to convince players to come play their event, but you have to assume the 42nd POTUS made a few calls on Humana's behalf. Ironically, I can't imagine many of those in the field voted for Clinton in '92 or '96 (or were old enough), as the general belief is most of the players on the PGA Tour are probably card-carrying members of the GOP.
@kevincurrin: It's not about Clinton.
@ShoshEAK: 90% Clinton made it a destination event again, but some credit to whomever shortened it to 4 days #mondayfour-ball
4. With all the discussion about Tim Tebow and who he might play with at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, what current celebrity would you play with if you were in the field?
Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf writer: George Lopez, hands down. And not because I caddied for him. It's because he'd be the most fun, and having fun would help with the nerves of playing in front of so many people.
He respects and loves the game but has a blast with the spectators while playing. If not George, choice No. 2 would be Herb Kohler because I need some new bathroom fixtures.
Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: At the Humana Challenge last year, Dr. J and I had In-N-Out burgers together one day off the driving range at the Palmer Private course. The first thing you notice about him is the size of his hands. They are huge. At 6-foot-7, he has that awkward tall-man swing so typical of basketball players, but it would be fun to get him to talk about his battles against the Celtics and the Lakers in the 1980s.
Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: Bill Murray. It is hard to believe you couldn't have a good time, no matter how poorly you played.
Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: They say you can learn more about someone in a round of golf than in any interview. That being said, the celebrity I'd be most interested to be paired with would be Theo Epstein.
For a man who "destroyed" curses in Boston with the Red Sox and now has the chance to do it again with the Cubs, getting inside his mind, if even only for a few hours, could lend a ton of insight into how baseball, and sports in general, have changed in recent decades.
Who knows how much he'd give up about his thought process, but just trying to find out what makes him tick would be fun, too.
@victoryoutdoors: If Tim Tebow plays, then I want to be in that group, just to hear some of his stuff about his life.
@billnewill: Tim Tebow. To see if he can resist the strongest temptation known to man: the urge to cuss a bad golf shot.