Chat with Bob Harig
Harig covers golf for ESPN.com and provides columns, features and analysis on the world of golf, specifically the PGA Tour. He has contributed to ESPN.com's golf coverage since 1997.
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Harig Archive: Columns
Hi everyone, let's get started. It stopped raining in St. Louis, but there is no golf at the BMW Championship. Still plenty to talk about, however. . . FedEx Cup. . . Ryder Cup. . . LPGA language controversy. . Or whatever you want. Fire away with your questions.
Why is the media saying Nick Faldo had an "embarassment of riches" to choose from. I don't see it. Ian Poulter is not an elite golfer despite what he thinks. Looking at his scores, they are average. He has one excellent result and a bunch of medicore ones. Monty has fallen off a cliff. Those are two of the 4 "riches" Call me unimpressed. i think the US has a lot better shot than people are writing.
I have been one to say that Faldo had many choices. Poulter finished second at the British Open. Paul Casey is among the top 25 in the world and has played in two Ryder Cups. Monty's record speaks for itself, despite his recent poor play. Darren Clarke won two touranments this year. Nobody mentioned Carl Pettersson, who just won in Greensboro. . . The Americans, meanwhile, offered up nobody who really stood out, at least in terms of the picks.
Patrick Hanover PA
Bob, I may be off base on this, but do you think that Phil MIckelson's recent poor play has to do with the fact that Tiger Woods is not playing. His record against him may not be very good but Phil does seem to get motivated against Tiger and has had some success. I just don't see any sense of urgency from him?
Bob Harig (4:08 PM)
It's an interesting theory, but I don't believe it to be so. Phil wants to win no matter what. I hardly believe he is not motivated. He's just been off his game.
Jeff, New York
Bob, My biggest problem with the FedEx Cup is that it is virtually impossible for a casual fan to figure out what it is going to take for a player to advance without breaking out a calculator. For example, I'm trying to figure out where Kevin Streelman needs to finish to make the top 30? Any help? Thanks.
Bob Harig (4:09 PM)
I'm not sure how they get around this. Even if you were going by money -- and not points -- you would have to do some guessing as to figure out how a player would fare depending on where he finishes. Streelman is 33rd in the points, so a lot depends on what those in front of him do. A top 10 would almost surely move him into the top 30, and probably less than that.
Craig (Chicago, IL)
With the Ryder Cup lineups now set, it is pretty clear Team USA is the underdog. I think we'll need the "13th man" to play a big role to pull the upset. How about encouraging a 16th hole FBR Open/1980 Olympic Hockey type crowd to get the home team going?
Bob Harig (4:10 PM)
I don't think any encouragement will be necessary. The fans in Louisville will be primed for the task.
James (Montgomery, AL)
So, does Vijay have a chance at POY now? Wouldn't that help legitimize the FedEx Cup?
Bob Harig (4:11 PM)
He certainly has to be considered. Three victories, including two playoff events and a World Golf Championship, is very, very strong. But he missed the cut in the last two majors. No doubt a Player of the Year for Vijay would cast a different ligh ton the playoffs.
Pat ( San Antonio)
What are the Chances that some overtakes Vijay in the FedEx Cup for the overall championship?, And how is the Trophy/Money Grab going to be handle if soemone other than the man who wins the Tour Championship wins the Fedex Cup?
Bob Harig (4:13 PM)
The scenarios are very few, as I just wrote in a piece that will appear on ESPN.com. Basically only Sergio Garcia, Mike Weir and Justin Leonard have a chance, and they need Vijay to finish at the bottom of the pack both this week and at the Tour Championship. And there is a very good chance that the winner of the Tour Championship -- unless it's Vijay -- will not win the FedEx Cup. It does present a dilemma for the PGA Tour.
Have they changed the setup at valhalla? From what I recall, the course was not the type of course where you would want to hold a major championship. (-18) being the winning score.
Bob Harig (4:14 PM)
No, but that's good for a Ryder Cup. You want them to be able to make birdies, and Paul Azinger suggested that the rough would not be difficult, the fairways wide.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
I guess Tiger's knee doesn't hurt too much, huh, if you know what I mean... anyway. Why do people care if he shows up at the Ryder Cup? His presence should not affect play - good or bad, right?
Bob Harig (4:15 PM)
I'll steer clear of the first part and say that his presence at the Ryder Cup could have a positive influence on the U.S. team if he can provide some motivation. He could also prove to be a big distraction as just his presence would be an attention grabber.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
You are picking a foursome for a scramble - who do you pick and why?
Bob Harig (4:19 PM)
Tough one: I go with Sergio Garcia for his driving ability, Tiger Woods for his iron play and putting, and Phil Mickelson because I figure I'm in the group and want to see all of them interact. And they won't need me.
Do you like the way the FedEx Cup is set up?
Bob Harig (4:23 PM)
I think they have it mostly right. I like the volatility we've seen. I would like to see them start with fewer players who qualify for the playoffs. They can still have full-field events, but only 100 start in the playoffs and then cut it down from there.
If you could change anything about the PGA Tour, what would it be?
Bob Harig (4:24 PM)
Honestly, I think there are too many good events, as crazy as that sounds. What I mean is having the four majors, three world events, the Players and four FedEx Cup events makes it very difficult for the average PGA Tour event to be relevant.
Kevin (Glen Rock, NJ)
Other than JB Holmes hitting the ball long and being from Kentucky, why is he on this team? Since the US Open, he has 5 cuts and and no top 20 finishes. Care to guess?
Bob Harig (4:25 PM)
I think the reasons you just mentioned are the reasons he's on the team. And I'm not sure there needs to be any more reasons than that. Yes, his record lately is not very good. But that's stroke play tournaments. The Ryder Cup is match play. His long drive and ability to make birdies could bea huge asset in best-ball. It doens't mean he will even play in every match.
Joe New Haven CT
Pick a sleeper on both sides that will put up big points for the ryder cup.
Bob Harig (4:27 PM)
Good question. . .How about Boo Weekley for the U.S. and Robert Karlsson for Europe. Boo might not know that he is supposed to be nerouvs. And Karlsson has been pretty solid this year.
Craig (Chicago, IL)
I imagine John McCain can't golf because of injuries suffered in Vietnam. Any idea if Obama, Biden, or Palin play?
Bob Harig (4:36 PM)
I do know that Obama had a recent vacation in Hawaii in which he was photographed playing golf. And if I'm not mistaken, he's a lefty -- I mean as a golfer.
what's the best tournament left on the schedule?
Bob Harig (4:48 PM)
Probably the Ryder Cup, although this week's BMW Championship still has most of the top 70 players in the world. .. Next month, be sure to tune in to the dunhill Links Championship, played at St. Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns. It is a pro-am style tournament and you can"t beat the venues.
What's your opinion now on the Ryder cup team? Was it put together properly?
Bob Harig (4:49 PM)
If you are asking about the U.S. Ryder Cup team, I'm not sure you could change it any more unless you gave the captain 12 picks and kept no points.
should we be tweaking the FedEx Cup format already? Or should we wait another year to see if it works itself out?
Bob Harig (4:51 PM)
I think it is in need of tweaks and we're already seeing some of the downsides. I think they have to keep working at it until they get it exactly as they want it.
don't you think we should be making a bigger deal about Annika's retirement? She's one of the best ever, no? I think people should be talking about this more.
Bob Harig (4:52 PM)
A big deal was made when she first announced her intentions in May and it has been a big story at every tournament she has played. You can bet a big deal will be made when she plays her lasts event at the ADT Championship in November.
after the Ryder Cup and FedEx Cup is over, are any of the last small tournaments worth checking out?
Bob Harig (4:54 PM)
Sure, although it probably depends on your interest level or particular players. The top 125 on the money list will still be up for grabs, as well as spots in the Masters and U.S. Open for the top 30. The Turning Stone tournament the week after the Ryder Cup will likely have one of the best fields, and the Disney event ends at the official season in early November.
Pat (San Antonio)
Considering that the Valero Texas Open was and could possibly be again the largest fund raising event on tour what are the difficulties the community will face staging the tournament less then 7 months apart.
Bob Harig (4:56 PM)
I should have named the Texas Open as well in my last answer. Given their success at raising money and putting on a tournament, I would guess they have a solid plan in place to turn around the events. They are headed to the spring schedule next year. They can take notes from the PODS Championship folks in Florida -- now the Transitions Championship -- which played in Oct of '06 and again in March of '07, an even shorter turnaround. Among the problems are lining up volunteers for a different time of year and getting lower level sponsors on board so quickly after they just spent a lot of money.
Comments on Chad Campbell making the team? He was way under the radar all year and made a run at the end.
Bob Harig (4:57 PM)
It did come as a bit of a surprise. Campbell was 20th in points, didn't even play in the British Open, was having a so-so year. But Azinger said he wanted one of his four picks to have Ryder Cup experience, and Campbell played in the last two.
Mike Weir, 1-9 in tourneys when he is the leader or co-leader after 3 rounds...is this enough evidence to label him a choker?
Bob Harig (4:59 PM)
I am not sure I would put it in those terms. Perhaps he has difficulty closing or maybe it's coincidence. But he's won eight times, including a major, where he made a pretty gutsy par on the last hole to get into a playoff at the 2003 Masters. And I saw him fare pretty well in a singles match against Tiger Woods last year at the Presidents Cup.
Bob Harig (5:01 PM)
Okay, my time is up. Thanks for all the questions and check back again next week. Enjoy the golf.