Chat with Jason Sobel
Send your questions now and join Jason right here on Tuesday at noon ET for all the answers.
Jason Sobel (12:01 PM)
What's going on, golf fans? Welcome to a special Tuesday afternoon edition of the golf chat. I'm coming to you live from ESPN studios in Bristol, Conn., where I'll be answering your questions for the next hour. Lots going on between the FedEx Cup, Vijay and Sergio battling it out at Ridgewood and, of course, the upcoming Ryder Cup. Let's get to it ...
Joe ( Philly)
Did any of the math nerds at the world wide leader ever figure out what it would take for Tiger to win the FedEx cup.
Jason Sobel (12:05 PM)
I take offense to the term "math nerd" -- I prefer "incredibly cool golf statistician" -- but in order for Tiger Woods to win the FedEx Cup, he'd first of all have to play some golf. He dropped from first to 15th in the standings after Round 1. (OK, so it didn't exactly take a lot of math to figure that one out.) Let's just say he was able to make a miraculous return this week. (Don't get excited; he's not.) If Woods had one or two wins and another strong finish, there's still a possibility that he'd be able to skip the first one and still win the title, but it wouldn't be nearly as easy as last year, when he did that very thing when he was healthy.
Stevie G (chitown)
Do we still think Kevin Streelman is Mr. Thursday? What a finish! Do you think he has a shot at ROY?
Jason Sobel (12:08 PM)
For a player who has seen some disappointing results on the weekends, that Sunday finish was awesome. He should be very happy with T-4, though I know he would have been even happier had that final-hole putt found the bottom of the cup. The players vote on the ROY award, so it's never clear cut who will win. I'd have to enlist Chez Reavie as the favorite right now, considering he's the only one with a victory this season, but Streelman has made the most headlines and been the rook who's consistently made the most noise. I'd say those two are in the lead right now in what has become a very weak rookie class, trailed by the likes of Brad Adamonis, Michael Letzig, Martin Laird, Tim Wilkinson, Jason Day, Justin Bolli and a few others who haven't accomplished a whole lot.
Gus - NY
Hey Jason, Have any of the other players commented on Kenny Perry and his whining? For someone who bailed on all of the big tourneys to moan now seems pretty lame to me. Thanks
Jason Sobel (12:10 PM)
I think they're two separate and independent situations, but I agree; it simply sounds like sour grapes from Perry, considering he was complaining about the volatility of the new format only after it didn't benefit him personally.
Paul (Portland, OR)
Hi Jason. On a totally different note, my dad and I attended Day 1 of the LPGA Safeway Classic here in Portland. It was a great way to get up close to watch the women pros hit golf balls longer and better than either of us ever will. I highly recommend it.
Jason Sobel (12:13 PM)
I've often said this (and I'm not the only one): If the average handicapper wants to learn more about his/her swing by watching those of the pros, more info will be gleaned from players on the LPGA than the PGA Tour. That's because their swing speeds, generally speaking, aren't as high and it's easier to replicate their move through the ball.
James: (Sugar Land, TX)
What do you think of the shenanigans regarding Nick Faldo on Sunday about the Ryder Cup selections? First he said if Paul Casey makes the putt on 18, he would be on the team and then tries to retract just as Casey's putt falls in the hole. Then Sergio blows kisses at Faldo after he hits his putt on 18. Do you like having an active captain on air so much and talking about his potential picks this much?
Jason Sobel (12:17 PM)
Love it. One of the most entertaining subplots of the golf season has been having an active captain in the booth for many events, even if he won't reveal too much info into his inner thoughts about the team. I've been trying to find a good analogy for this and here's the best I could come up with: It's as if Barack Obama or John McCain served as a weekly panelist on "Meet the Press." Sure, they wouldn't divulge everything they were thinking, but even the smallest comment would mean more coming from them than another analyst. As for Faldo's comment on Casey, I think he was just having fun with it. Although maybe he knows he's going to pick Casey anyway, so he'll live up to the comment. Sergio blowing kisses was pretty funny, too -- although I'm not sure how they knew it was for Faldo and not Nantz!
This is me being disappointed -- not nearly enough food mentions in your blog last weekend.
Jason Sobel (12:19 PM)
I still don't understand why golf fans would rather read about my lunch than what's going on at the course. If I'm eating a pimento cheese sandwich at the Masters or some foreign fish at the British Open, I'll write about it, but a Caesar salad at The Barclays isn't exactly going to boost the traffic numbers on the blog, is it?
Who do you like this weekend in Norton? Phil obviously plays well here, but I like Ken Duke who has played well all year but no W's yet.
Jason Sobel (12:21 PM)
Every time I see Duke's caddie, Mike "Wally" Niebhal, he implores me to pick his guy, because he says he's going to win one very soon. That said, I see a bomber coming through at TPC-Boston -- the course just sets up well for a guy who can crush it. I like Ogilvy, Appleby, Bubba and maybe even Jason Day as a sleeper, but my pick to win is Paul Casey, who has been quietly knocking on the door and is due for his first PGA Tour victory.
Jay Indianapolis, In
Tiger woods has not played since the U.S Open which he won. When he comes back how do you think his game will be? Also how many more major championships will he win?
Jason Sobel (12:23 PM)
Tiger Woods isn't going to return from his injury and be the 50th-best player on tour, I can tell you that much. It may take a little while for him to fully regain his dominant ways -- or maybe not -- but eventually he'll be the No. 1 player and we'll forget he ever missed those six-plus months. I've been on record for a few years now that I think Woods will finish with 24 career major wins. That means 10 more, which could actually be a low estimate.
Buzzmaster (12:27 PM)
Jason just poked his head in. He said he accidently turned off his computer. He'll be back in a minute.
Jason Sobel (12:33 PM)
It's true. I accidentally turned off my computer. I'm not a smart man.
I know you have been hard on Sergio for his comments in the past and his putting woes, but it seems he has grown up quite a bit. All that said doesn't he have to be wondering why he can't win? It seems like there are other players win everytime they play well enough to win but Sergio only wins a small percentage everytime he plays well enough.
Jason Sobel (12:35 PM)
Yeah, but I really don't think it's bothering him all that much. I mean, he wants to win, of course, but I feel like there's some sort of zen focus of the mind that has overtaken Sergio; he seems so at ease and pleased with how he's playing right now. Wins are going to come. And when they do, they may just come in bunches.
Chris; Baton Rouge, LA
Unfortunately, I'm more interested in who Faldo is going to pick (which two out of Poulter, Casey, and Clarke) than who Zinger is gonna pick (four out of any number of players not making a strong push). So here is the obligatory question, who's it gonna be? Did Mahan help himself with the 62 or hurt himself by not following it up. Par out and he wins it.
Jason Sobel (12:39 PM)
Not sure he did either one. With no one else who was close really making a push, I don't think Mahan helped or hurt himself last week. That said, I do think he needs to do a little more than everyone else, based on his recent comments and how much of a distraction they could become at Valhalla. I guess, if anything, the 62 helped him, for the simple reason that Woody Austin and D.J. Trahan and everyone else hasn't posted any 62s recently. As for whom Azinger will pick ... Tim Rosaforte reported on the GolfWorld website that the captain knows who two of the players will be -- but he hasn't told them yet. I'm willing to bet that Steve Stricker is one of them. The other one? My guess is J.B. Holmes, who shot 66 this past Sunday.
Your thoughts on the LPGA's English language rule?
Jason Sobel (12:41 PM)
Just did a little video segment on this issue and will post a blog shortly after the chat is complete. I think it's great that the LPGA wants its players to all be able to speak English, but making it a rule -- and trying to enforce such a rule -- is inane. The tour should be helping these players, not threatening them with revocation of their tour cards if they don't learn English right away.
Jim (Houston, TX)
I was too late to get this question in last week's chat when POY discussions were taking place, but how is Tiger Woods even in the conversation at this point? (I believe you said he was.) If Harrington fails to record a top-10 for the rest of the year, he's still a clear winner over Tiger, right?
Jason Sobel (12:45 PM)
No, I think you can still make an argument for either player, but some of their peers were asked about it last week at The Barclays and most that I saw said they would vote for Harrington. For the record, I asked Phil Mickelson ...
Q: Just wondering if you've given any thought to the Player of the Year race and who you would vote for at this point.
PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't.
How good is danny lee and do you see him turning pro before or after the majors next year? Some say he could contnend in the masters now because of his putting. Your take?
Jason Sobel (12:47 PM)
Well, first off, after watching him a little bit, I think he is really, really good -- and at 18, he's only going to get better. As for when he'll turn pro, it's something even he doesn't know -- he intimated after the Am that it's more his parents' decision than his -- so anything I'd say now would just be a guess. That said, he did seem pretty fired up to be qualified for the Masters and U.S. Open, so he may not want to give those up. Can he contend in the Masters? Never say never, but experience is so important on that course; let's give the kid a few years before we start sewing him a green jacket, OK?
Greg (New York, NY)
Based on the new FedEx volatility (Lee Janzen could have gone from 144th to 1st with a win), is it essentially a guarantee that you have to win one of the four tournaments to win the Cup? Sergio wouldn't catch Vijay next week with a second-place finish, even if Vijay misses the cut.
Jason Sobel (12:52 PM)
No, I think someone like Sergio could finish in second at all of 'em and still win the Cup, but a win certainly helps. If there's one criticism of the new points system, it may be that first place is weighted too heavily. Then again, winning is pretty important; if it weren't weighted enough, then people would complain about that, too.
Gus - NY
Do you think like I do that Ben Curtis could be the US teams best hope at the Ryder Cup? Thanks
Jason Sobel (12:54 PM)
I could see him playing well, especially with Tony Navarro on the bag. I really think Anthony Kim and Boo Weekley will play well. But it'll come down to the veterans. Mickelson, Cink and Furyk will all likely play four or five matches. They need to play well in order to give the team a chance.
Do you see Vijay winning it all
Jason Sobel (12:56 PM)
No idea. He's gone W-MC-MC-W in his last four starts, so I'm not exactly sure what to think about Vijay anymore. Certainly wouldn't surprise me if he rode the Barclays victory to a FedEx win.
One more thing about Sergio. Did you notice the difference in how he congratulated Padraig vs Vijay? The Padraig handshake was like a Tiger/Phil handshake but the way Sergio congratulated Vijay it seemed he was genuinely happy for Vijay. Do Sergio and Padraig dislike each other that much? I wonder how it will play out in the Ryder Cup. It would seem that Padraig would be the Euro leader but he has limited success in the Ryder Cup while Sergio has carried the Euros previously.
Jason Sobel (12:59 PM)
I think it has less to do with his relationships with those players and more to do with PGA Championship vs. The Barclays. I mean, let's be serious: We all know he wanted the PGA about 100 times more. Doesn't mean he didn't want to win at Ridgewood, but he could still smile about it afterward. Also, keep in mind the fact that he was expecting Vijay to two-putt from that distance, while Harrington 20-foot par took him by surprise.
Jason Sobel (1:01 PM)
Thanks for the questions. My hour is up. See you next week. Until then, hit 'em straight ...