Chat with Jason Sobel
Send your questions now and join Jason right here on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET for all the answers.
Jason Sobel (2:03 PM)
What's up, golf fans? I'm finally fully decompressed after 34 hours of live blogging from the PGA. Ready to talk about Paddy's win, the Ryder Cup, FedEx Cup or anything else on your mind for the next hour. Let's get going...
Paul (Portland, OR)
Jason, I can't say enough about how impressed I was with Sergio. I was a fan until he turned me off over the last couple of years with his attitude. Sunday he really looked ready to win his first major. Growing up?
Jason Sobel (2:05 PM)
Yeah, I think so -- and that's what I wrote in my column on Sunday night. Of course, while I was blogging and then heading to the interview room to see Sergio, I missed what I've heard was a half-hearted handshake with Harrington and a curt reply to the TV interviewer (Kostis?), so maybe I didn't get the entire story. But yes, as far as from what I saw, his attitude -- both on and off the course -- was improved and I think it's only a matter of time until he wins a major championship.
How much did Harrington's victory over Garcia remind you of Payne Stewart's US Open win over Phil Mickelson? Both Harrington & Stewart made lengthy par putts on 16 while both BPTNWAM made bogeys. Then on 17 it was almost exactly the same! Harrington & Stewart hit it very close but both BPTNWAM hit it closer but Harrington/Stewart made their putts while both BPTNWAM missed their putts. Then on 18, Stewart and Harrington both made lengthy par putts to win.
I think there are a lot of parallels between the finishes of this year?s pga and the 99? us open. Do you agree?
Jason Sobel (2:07 PM)
Dan, meet Jeff. Jeff, this is Dan. Actually, you guys are echoing a sentiment I've heard often in the past few days. There's certainly something to that notion, had many of the parallels there. Of course, I don't think Paddy took Sergio face in his hands and said, "You're going to love being a father!" but maybe I missed that part.
Brandon (Cartersville, GA)
One thing I'm excited about next year is it is possible there will be a dog fight between Tiger, Phil and Padraig for World No. 1. If Tiger doesn't play until the Masters his points will drop to about where Padraig is now. Padraig could catch Phil for No. 2 by the end of the year. Your thoughts?
Jason Sobel (2:09 PM)
I suppose, but it doesn't seem like a fair fight, with one of the three laid up on his couch at home. I mean, c'mon, we all know Tiger Woods is the world's No. 1-ranked player. If a computer spits out a number that says he hasn't played enough to statistically maintain that position, does that make it any less true?
Jeff Syracuse, NY
Jason, With a good performance this week in Greensboro, how do you like Zach Johnson's chances for a Ryder Cup spot?
Jason Sobel (2:11 PM)
Johnson has two things going in his favor: 1. There aren't a whole lot of other potential candidates with green jackets in their closets (pretty sure Azinger isn't going with Coody, Casper, Ford and Aaron for the four selections); and 2. Not many of the candidates have played well lately, so any of 'em -- Johnson included -- can have a few solid weeks here and cement their spot on the team.
Jason, How do you not put Stricker on your Ryder Cup team (i.e. your alternate shot column). The guy is the best American putter (with Tiger Woods hurt) and he has been playing better of late (no MC in his last few tourneys). To have players like JB or Rocco on the squad over Stricker would be ridiculous, the guy is 10th in the World.
Jason Sobel (2:15 PM)
If it's any consolation, he'd be the next guy on my list. That said, I've just never been confident in Stricker's confidence, if that makes any sense. Just doesn't seem like the kind of guy who takes pleasure in bringing down an opponent. That's the type they need -- ruthless, vicious competitors. Are they out there? I'm not sure. I've always thought Jerry Kelly was a guy like that, but he's not playing very well (MCd at all four majors). Steve Flesch could be that guy. I think Rocco is -- or at least deserves to prove that he isn't. After them, why not stick with young guys like Snedeker, O'Hair and Mahan just to see what they've got? There's nothing to lose.
Marc (Birmingham, AL)
Jason, how do you think Phil will respond to the Ryder Cup this year without Tiger being there? Is he capable of stepping up and being a leader, or are the other guys more likely to take their cue from Furyk?
Jason Sobel (2:18 PM)
I know I'm in the minority here, but the notion of a "team leader" is so overrated it's not even funny. Not even sure what sort of "cue" one player would take from another anyway. Besides, isn't it Azinger's job to be the team leader? It's not like a football locker room, where Tiger was going around slapping guys in the helmet during halftime and getting 'em fired up. If you need to take a cue from somone else that you should make a few more putts, well, you're probably not going to make 'em anyway.
Who do you think Azinger would prefer in his captain's picks, a player who gets lots of birdies and bogeys (ex. JB Holmes), or a steady player who consistently makes par with the occasional birdie (Steve Stricker)?
Jason Sobel (2:21 PM)
I think he needs a few of each. I broke down the top eight during either Round 3 or 4 of the Live Blog (can't remember which) and right now I'd separate the eight men in into two four-man groups. The birdie-makers are Mickelson, Cink, Perry and Kim. The steady guys are Furyk, Weekley, Curtis and Leonard. I think you pair guys from different groups for fourballs and from the same group for foursomes. And I wouldn't be surprised if he goes with two more from each group with his captain's picks.
Brandon (Cartersville, GA)
How effective will Boo Weekley be considering in February he didn't even know what match play was?
Jason Sobel (2:23 PM)
Maybe that's exactly what the U.S. team needs. There have been too many players over the years who are completely terrified of playing in the Ryder Cup; they just become overcome by nerves. Weekley will go out with the same mindset he has at the Viking Classic. Hit the ball off the tee, go find it and hit it again. Except once in a while, it'll get close and someone will tell him to pick it up. Call it dumb golf if you will, but it may be the smart way to play.
I can see it now Jason. Opening ceremonies on Thursday. DJ Trahan is introduced. He stands up and Tigers unzips the *Trahan* suit and steps out. The crowd goes nuts. USA! USA! USA! Then Europe beats them 20-8.
Jason Sobel (2:24 PM)
Does that mean that Tiger has been playing for Trahan the last two months, too? Because if he has, I'm not sure we really need him on the team.
I agree that Sergio's outlook has improved, but in the interview with Kostis that you mentioned, he did complain a little bit about Paddy getting a good lie in the rough on 18 after his chunked sand shot. Sergio's not there yet.
Jason Sobel (2:25 PM)
Did he complain? Or did he just describe it? Because it's true; Harrington hit an awful shot out of the fairway bunker, left it in the right rough ... and got a great lie.
I believe I am the world's No.1 ranked golfer!
Jason Sobel (2:27 PM)
Ha. What's funny is the fact that Harrington is the last player in the world who would ever say anything like that. Go back and look at some of his comments both before and during the week of the PGA. I'm still not sure how he won. According to him, he had no confidence, no focus, no short game. Or he's just a little too humble.
Tom (Simi Valley, CA)
I think it's too bad that golf is one sport that is so reliant on its megastars, or, well, megastar if you will. Personally I really enjoyed Sunday of the PGA, I thought there was terrific golf being played. It was way more exciting than The Masters. It's too bad that people have been programmed to think that golf without Tiger is worthless golf.
Jason Sobel (2:29 PM)
I did a straw poll of readers after Woods announced that he would be out for the season. Half said they'd keep watching golf this season; half said they were done watching without Woods in the mix. And considering these people were reading our golf content, I can only assume they're golf fans, too, not just casual viewers. That said, Tiger's absence was a major headline entering each of the last two majors and was a minor footnote by the end. Look, he's perhaps the greatest of all-time, but there was golf before him and the sport will survive long after him, too. I think the last two months have proven that.
Tiger should be the next Ryder Cup captain and he should keep that title until he no longer wants it. Obviously, he would be a player captain.
Jason Sobel (2:32 PM)
Who said he wants it in the first place? Besides, why should being a great player be the only prerequisite for being the captain? What if that translated to other sports? Does it mean Manny Ramirez would make for a great manager? Would Chad Johnson be a great head coach in the NFL? I'm not saying Tiger is anything like either of them, but heading up the team takes a lot of time -- time that Tiger Woods doesn't have.
St. Patrick (Dublin, Ireland)
I saw a photo in the Irish Times of Paddy hanging out by the pool with the Claret Jug and Wanamaker Trophy at his rental house in Detroit, which means Paddy must have brought the Claret Jug. Is this a common practice? Does Zach Johnson or Trevor Immelman show up at tournaments wearing the green jacket? Surely Padraig has had time to drop it off at his home trophy case, no?
Jason Sobel (2:36 PM)
Not sure if there were some promotional reasons he for why he brought it over or what, but no, guys don't usually travel with their awards. Padraig's son, Patrick, has been using the Claret Jug as a home for their ladybirds and it remains in the family's kitchen. If I were Johnson or Immelman, though, I'd wear that green jacket out to dinner every single night. Think you're going to have to wait for a table while wearing that?
Harry Potter (Hogwarts)
What's all this about the Wand-maker Trophy? I think Ollivander should have won it.
Jason Sobel (2:38 PM)
Who let the nerd in the golf chat?
How can one think that Tom Lehman/Hal Sutton/Paul Azinger are better captains than Tiger Woods when Tiger knows more about the game (especially winning) and being competitive than all 3 of them combined?
Jason Sobel (2:40 PM)
Yeah, but this has nothing to do with knowing more about winning. It has to do with knowing the players -- Azinger has played multiple practice rounds with every potential candidate. Think Tiger would do that? It has to do with being on the phone with the PGA of America all the time, figuring things from uniform selection to who knows what else. It means going to Valhalla to inspect the course setup. I'm telling you, Woods may do this someday, but there's no way he's got enough time in his schedule to do this anytime soon.
Christian (High Point, NC)
With Tiger not even swinging a club until next year, what are the odds that Harrington completes a Paddy Slam?
Jason Sobel (2:42 PM)
As one reader told me the other day, "Isn't that the Irish breakfast at Denny's?" In that case, he may complete it, but I hope he doesn't have to tee off for a while. Seriously, though, can he win the Masters and U.S. Open next year? No reason to say why not, but it's difficult enough to win two in a row. I'd give him a chance, sure, but the law of averages is certainly against him.
To get on his nerves, I think the American team's strategy for Sergio should be to say "tough break" every time he finds the rough, a greenside bunker, etc.
Jason Sobel (2:43 PM)
Good idea, except for one thing: Sergio doesn't hit the ball into the rough or any bunkers at the Ryder Cup.
Tim Finnegan (Boston, Mass)
As an Irish-American I am proud of Paddy's accomplishments. But I wonder why there aren't more wordclass golfers from Ireland. You'd think it would produce as many as Scotland. They have many of the world's best courses (Ballybunnion, Lahinch). Do you have a theory?
Jason Sobel (2:46 PM)
Not really, no. I mean, there are a handful of decent players on the Euro Tour currently and Rory McIlroy seems like he has the chops to become great someday. But I'll bet that just like Tiger influenced so many young American players in 1997 and beyond, there are many 10-year-old kids in Ireland right now who have been inspired to take up golf and become great because of Harrington's exploits. So we may not see the effect for 15-20 years, but it will happen
I am thinking of invading Canada so that Mike Wier can play on our Ryder Cup team. What do you think Jason?
Jason Sobel (2:48 PM)
I think you'd might as well swing over to Calgary and grab Stephen Ames, too. But no, we don't need Canada.
Paul (Portland, OR)
Speaking of Europeans who typically play well in the Ryder Cup, do you think Monty's done with his chances to win a major (except perhaps if he plays on the Champions tour)?
Jason Sobel (2:50 PM)
A lot depends on the next few weeks. Not only does he need to play well, but he needs Ian Poulter and/or Paul Casey to knock Oliver Wilson and/or Soren Hansen from the list of those automatically qualified. Even if one of them makes the team, there's some sentiment that Faldo would still take the other one and Darren Clarke as his picks, leaving Monty out.
Christian (High Point, NC)
How come no live blog of the Wyndham Championship? I would've come by and said 'Hello!'
Jason Sobel (2:55 PM)
Oh, well if I had known that, I would have done one. Seriously, you have no idea how much that thing takes out of me. Try sitting hunched over at your laptop for 34 hours over four days. Typing stuff. Relevant stuff. Spelled correctly. Somewhat funny, somewhat analytical. Updating it every five minutes or so. Believe me, I'm not complaining, because I love it and the whole thing was my idea in the first place, but by 8 p.m. Sunday night, I'm cooked. Just wipes me out. That said, I'm going to try a new thing at a few of the upcoming tourneys (Barclays, Tour Championship), doing a semi-live blog during the day. Won't be updated every five minutes, but it will be something where you can hit refresh every 30-60 minutes and get something new from the course.
Not gonna lie...it's shocking that golf is not in the Olympics. It would be pretty easy to have a tournament in the host city. Especially with London hosting in 2012.
Jason Sobel (2:59 PM)
Well, it's not going to happen in 2012, but it looks like 2016 is a good bet. But unless you want to see another 72-hole stroke-play event, write to your local tour commissioner and request something fun and different. I'd love to see mixed doubles. I mean, if they were playing this week, we could see Phil paired with Creamer, Karlsson with Annika, Choi with Tseng, Scott with Webb. Would anyone really be against this?
Is Paddy the favorite for PoY at this point, unless someone goes on Vijay type run and wins a bunch of meaningless tourneys?
Jason Sobel (3:02 PM)
As I wrote for this week's Fact or Fiction (which should be posted later today or tomorrow, I think), Paddy should win the award. There's a precedent here. Duval had four wins and led the money list in '98, but O'Meara won two majors and took the POY award. Harrington should get it, too.
Leif (Pasadena, CA)
Barring a win in the FedEx Cup playoffs by Perry or Mickelson, Tiger Woods could conceivably win the money list by playing only six events. That's a pretty ridiculous feat, don't you think?
Jason Sobel (3:03 PM)
Incredibly, unbelievably ridiculous.
The Olympic gold medalists in every sport are the unquestioned best in the world at that event when they win. That's why golf will be useless unless Tiger at least plays.
Jason Sobel (3:05 PM)
He'll be 40 at that point. Will he play? It's eight years from now, so who knows? But Tiger likes history and he likes hardware. If he's got 19 majors by that point, why not go for a gold medal, too. Hey, 9-year-old Sam could be his mixed doubles partner and they could win together.
Where does Curtis now stand with exemptions? Does he have to qualify for all of them, minus the British? Thanks
Jason Sobel (3:05 PM)
He's back in the PGA next year and I believe the Masters, too. Not sure about the U.S. Open. But none of those exemptions are more than one year long.
Do you still think Sergio gets a major before he turns 30? What's your over/under on total majors for him?
Jason Sobel (3:07 PM)
Yeah, I've said a few times recently that he gets one before he turns 30. That gives him four more chances. I'll take him at Turnberry next year. As for his over/under, I say he gets to five or six in his career. That may sound crazy right now, but he's got that talent to do it and he's still young.
Gus - NY
Hey Jason, What has happened to Jason Gore? When everyone was jumping on the JB Holmes train i jumped on the Gore train. did i get on the wrong locomotive? Thanks
Jason Sobel (3:09 PM)
He had (I believe) a thyroid problem earlier this year. From what I hear, he is healthy now and starting to play better. I've always said Gore is the type of guy who may do absolutely nothing for a long time, then bust out for a few big results all in a row, like in '05.
David (St. Louis)
Now that the Majors are completed for year 2 of Els' plan to catch Tiger, how's that looking for him? Could not believe that he re-affirmed the plan earlier this year after taking so much grief for it
Jason Sobel (3:10 PM)
He can no longer even say he has more knee surgeries than Tiger, either. No idea what Els is thinking these days. It's good to have goals, but setting the bar too high is dangerous.
Jason Sobel (3:11 PM)
OK, that's it for me. Gotta see if I can beat my Ocho Cinco from yesterday afternoon. Should be back with another chat on Monday. Until then, hit 'em straight ...
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