Chat with ESPN.com golf editor Jason Sobel
Send your questions now and join Jason right here on Thursday at noon ET for all the answers.
Jason Sobel (12:01 PM)
Good afternoon, golf fans. Quick 30-minute chat today before my 1 p.m. 18-hole match against podcast partner John Anderson. If anyone has any swing tips, speak now or forever hold your peace. OK, let's get going ...
Adam (syracuse, ny)
People keep drawing attention to Tigers futility in majors when trailing on Sundays. Do you think he hasn't done it because he has really tailored his game to withstand 4 rounds rather than trying to "win it" on Thursdays? Seems like his game is tailor made to lead but not chase down a lead
Jason Sobel (12:04 PM)
I'm still not buying into the whole notion that Tiger can't win a major in come-from-behind fashion. It'll happen; it just hasn't yet. That said, yes, he's obviously better as a front-runner. Having been in that situation so many times before, he knows what it takes to finish off a victory. No one is chasing him down from behind, but getting into the 54-hole lead is the real problem.
I will refrain from haiku-ing or limerick-ing this question: honestly, did Tiger NEED this surgery? Seems like an excuse to skip tournaments he doesn't want to play, makes him a hero if he wins a major months after surgery, and serves as a nice little excuse if he goes major-less.
Jason Sobel (12:06 PM)
I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that if he didn't need surgery, well, he wouldn't have done it. I mean, I know a lot of people with jobs they don't like, but I'm still not sure how many would have voluntary surgery just to get out of work. Tiger actually enjoys his job. And if he doesn't want to go to work, he just doesn't. Of course, it's not like the timing is random, either. Just goes to show where his mindset is toward the majors as opposed to other events.
i like tiger chances too bounce back, iam pulling for him even more since his dad passed away. it keeps him busy, and going for more titles in golf. go tiger. you guys are the best at espn.
Jason Sobel (12:07 PM)
Now there's a sentiment I don't see every day. Thanks.
Joe, Springfield MA
Isn't it a bit premature to say that the course changes at Augusta have eliminated the Sunday drama? In my view, the Sun weather the last two years is what made it so difficult. Look at 2005; Tiger's chip on 16, the dual down the stretch with DiMarco...it just so happened that this year, Immelman had built himself a sizeable cushion. That could happen on even an easier Augusta.
Jason Sobel (12:08 PM)
Yup, and though my cohorts may not agree with me, I think the weather has had more to do with any higher scoring than the course changes. We debated this in Fact or Fiction this week: http://sports.espn.go.com/golf/news/story?page=factfiction/080416One of these years, we'll get four days of 75-degree temps with no wind and the winning score will be back to 14-under-par.
Gus - NY
Hey Jason, great job with the blog. you did a better job than the tv coverage. now i know why people say golf is boring, tv on the weekend showed 5 golfers and that's it. if you didn't know better, you'd think that everyone else quit. thanks
Jason Sobel (12:11 PM)
Glad you liked the blog. Took a lot out of me -- updates every 5-10 minutes, for 37 live hours over five days -- but it seems like people enjoy reading it and interacting during the tournament. As for the weekend TV coverage, there were only six players who had a legit chance of winning entering the final round, so I'm not exactly sure what it is that you'd like to see more of. If the telecast was showing, say, some player who was 2-over, which meant you'd miss a live shot from Immelman and have to see it on tape a minute later, wouldn't that be much worse of a scenario?
Tiger is the best right now, he can do what he wants, why would he need and excuse to miss tournaments?
Jason Sobel (12:13 PM)
Exactly. And really, Tiger is a competitor; if he didn't ever want to play, well, he'd just retire. No, this is a very real injury. It remains to be seen whether he can hit the 15-tournament limit or get some sort of Minor Medical Extension, which really wouldn't make much sense anyway, since he's exempt for future seasons about 10 times over.
Adam (syracuse, ny)
I'm with Gus, unless your name is Tiger Woods, if you're not making a move up the leader board tv doesn't bother to show you.
Jason Sobel (12:15 PM)
Right, but nobody was making a move. Miguel Angel Jimenez shot the round of the day (68), but I think he was just about done when the telecast began. So I'm really not sure what you're asking for here. I'm not trying to stick up for the CBS guys -- I have no allegiance to them -- but watching players who are 10 shots back doesn't do a whole lot for me, personally.
Jason, what do you think about Ernie Els deciding on going through swing changes prior to the Masters. Correct me if I'm wrong, didin't he win Honda this year ? Sounds like he's doing what Tiger did in 01.
Jason Sobel (12:17 PM)
Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to Els. Yep, only one month removed from winning the Honda, he switches swing instructors leading into the Masters and -- guess what -- misses the cut. Shocker. I do think that he'll find future success working with Butch Harmon, but it may take a good part of the summer before it comes to fruition.
Tom (Simi Valley, CA)
Not that you're a doctor, but wondering if anyone knows- I had a scope for torn meniscus in my right knee on March 21 and I just played golf this past weekend, 3 weeks later. Anyone know how cartilage is different and why it will take Tiger 4-6 weeks to recover?
Jason Sobel (12:19 PM)
I don't think the details have been released yet -- ESPN.com medical guru Stefania Bell preceded me on ESPNEWS yesterday and was speculating, but that's about all we can do right now -- but I believe the U.S. Open is 8 weeks away and know that making it back for the second major is his biggest goal.
Enough Tiger talk already. Sheesh. Trevor Immelman ... does he have what it takes to stay consistant like Tiger, Phil or Vijay??
Jason Sobel (12:21 PM)
OK, OK, no more Tiger. I liken Immelman to fellow countryman Retief Goosen, which is a pretty favorable comparison, in my mind. Both are solid, steady players, very good ball-strikers, and I think we'll see Immelman win at least another major or two before his career is over, though it may not happen this year or next.
Are you in Pimento-cheese or Egg-salad sandwich withdrawl?
Jason Sobel (12:22 PM)
I stayed far away from the pimento cheese this year, but I did throw down six egg salad sandwiches on Friday, when I suggested in the live blog that every golf fan celebrate Masters week by eating six sandwiches that day. At leaqst I held up my end of the deal.
Ryan (St Louis, MO)
Bad weather or not, a guy was 8 under par, protecting a lead and many others were under par. If you have ever been to the course, it is risk/reward with reachable Par 5's andrather open tee shots allowing players to be agressive. Good conditions will allow people to score, the course is still set up to let someone get hot and card a low score to climb up the leaderboard on a Sunday.
Jason Sobel (12:24 PM)
Exactly. Like I wrote, I think the course is set up like a British Open, meaning that officials set it up exactly the way they want it to play, then let weather conditions dictate the scoring. If you ever hear anyone from the R&A discuss this, you'll know that they couldn't care less whether 18-under-par or even-par wins the British each year.
Adam (syracuse, ny)
that's the thing I noticed...I don't know if there was anyone better than Immelman from tee to green as far as accuracy goes. He hits it like that Torrey Pines he's gonna be a force to be reckoned with
Jason Sobel (12:26 PM)
Like I said, I do think he's got a great future ahead of him, but there were a few statistical anomalies in there, too. Top-four in driving distance, driving accuracy, greens in reg and putting??? I think we'd have to send out the inquisition if he DIDN'T win. Yes, if he plays like that at Torrey, he'll contend again, but that's easier said than done.
I think its fair to say that Immelman will win one or two more. The sad part is, he is a great player, your right, great ball stricker and he keeps cool for the most part. The problem with that is that had he played in any other era, he would probably be a front runner, but he plays in the Tiger era and as frustrating as it is sometimes, its the truth that no one else comes close.
Jason Sobel (12:27 PM)
Perhaps. But if Immelman had been born 30-40 years earlier, maybe he'd just fall at the hands of Nicklaus, Palmer, Player and Watson instead. He can take solace in the fact that we've been waiting for a young gun to step up and beat Tiger in a big one and rather than Scott, Garcia or Rose, that player was Immelman.
Jason, 6 egg salad sandwiches in one day, i would of hated to be in that room with you. Hope the windows were open.
Jason Sobel (12:28 PM)
Large media room. And spread out over eight hours. That's as far as I'll go with those details.
Andrew (Long Beach, CA)
The statistics favor Tiger not Immelman he won the Masters but he does not have what it takes to win the British Open
Jason Sobel (12:29 PM)
Andrew I like the fact that you write in run-on sentences Immelman played very well I actually think the British suits his game pretty well since he has played a fair amount of golf in the U.K. but Tiger is certainly the prohibitive favorite anytime he tees it up knee injury or not.
Where are you playing today? Good luck and keep your head down!!
Jason Sobel (12:31 PM)
Avon GC -- Anderson's club, which is right around the block form here. On that note, time for me to take his cash. Until next time, hit 'em straight (I hope I will, too) ...