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
Bob Harig (4:03 PM)
Hey, thanks for joining this golf chat. It's a unique day in golf. While one tour's season is at the start of the beginning, another's is at the beginning of the beginning. Anything in golf is fair game, and I'll do my best to answer. So fire away.
Mike (Far, Far Away)
I saw something that said David Toms has exempt status thru 2011, that can't be right can it? What is the current status for DT, DiMarco and DL3 heading into next year?
Bob Harig (4:04 PM)
Mike, I did a double-take when I saw that, too, but it's true. Even though Toms will finish outside of the top 125 this year, he is exempt this year due to multiple victories. When he won the 2001 PGA, he got five years. Then when he added victories after that, it extends the various exemptions. Basically, he won at the righ times, pushing him through 2011.
How many majors will tiger win next year.
Bob Harig (4:06 PM)
Brian, I'm getting a bunch of Tiger questions regarding how many majors he will win. Very hard to say, not knowing how well he'll come back. I would never doubt him at anything, but you have to give him a pass on the Masters. After that, so many things are in play. I bet Tiger would be thrilled if he captured one major.
Jerry (STAMP IT, GA)
So, Bob...any chance Phil Mickelson ever wins another major? I just don't see it happening.
Bob Harig (4:07 PM)
Jerry, Phil's still got plenty of time to win majors. We hold him to a high standard, and tend to knock him down when he doesn't do what we think he should. But I would be surprised if he didn't get another one.
With the less than dramatic ending to the FedEx Cup the past two seasons, what changes, if any, are in effect this year?
Bob Harig (4:08 PM)
Pete, they have yet to announce changes for 2009, but the plan will definitely be different. Look for them to come up with some kind of system where everyone who gets to the Tour Championship has a chance to win the FedEx Cup. Without knowing what else the rest of it is, that's a good start.
Wishing we could stop talking about Tiger in this chat. Is that all anyone knows? How come we can't talk about Andy Bean's huge senior win?
Bob Harig (4:10 PM)
Might have been the first time all year we got a question about the Champions Tour. Sad but true
Pick your rising star: Villegas or Kim. You can only have one.
Bob Harig (4:11 PM)
With only one, I'm going with Anthony Kim, because he is a far better putter, and that appears to be what is holding so many young players back.
Ripken (Des Moines, IA)
What do you see happening with Mr. David Duvall? I liken him to Roy Tarpley.
Bob Harig (4:12 PM)
Ripken, Duval remains one of the game's biggest mysteries. He was so good, and has been so bad. Occasionally, such as last week, he gets up onto the leaderboard. But he's nowhere near keeping his tour card.
do you think Drew Weaver is going to make a major tourney this year?
Bob Harig (4:13 PM)
Drew, Drew Weaver is still playing college golf for Virginia Tech. Only reason he got in those majors last year was because of his British Amateur victory in 2007. He'd have to do something like that again.
With Tiger out, how much does it impact your number of golf chat questions?
Bob Harig (4:15 PM)
Ken, believe it or not, among the true golf fans, interest has not fallen off. Number of questions has not fallen off, although a good number are still about Tiger, even though he hasn't played since June.
A. Loeb (West Hartford)
I think that if he can get his putting game down, than we will be talking about Sir Colin Montgomerie as the next British champ.
Bob Harig (4:16 PM)
A. Loeb, I'm still wondering if Monty will be able to win any tournament at all, let alone a major.
Does the PGA need, at some point, to step in and help out Daly? It's sad to see such talent wasted.
Bob Harig (4:18 PM)
It is possible that they have and we just do not know it.
MAJ (Bham, AL)
The Ryder Cup (and President's Cup) is always the highlight of the year from me. Any chance there would ever be more "team" events during the Tour year?
Bob Harig (4:19 PM)
There are some who believe the Presidents Cup is one too many. I doubt you'll see more. Part of what makes them special is there are not too many of them. The two-year cycle for the Ryder Cup helps build anticipation.
Mr. Cooper (Oak-town)
Mr. Harig, can you tell me one reason why I should bet against Tiger next year? I think that he could win the grand slam if he went through a divorce. Musicians always write their best stuff after family issues.
Bob Harig (4:21 PM)
Mr. Cooper, I'm not sure I'd ever bet against Tiger, but I could give you dozens of reasons why he might not win the Grand Slam, starting with the fact that nobody has ever done it in the modern era. If you remember, there was considerable talk about that going into the 08 season and he was unable to win the Masters. Coming back after a long layoff also adds to the doubt at least for '09.
If they change it so that everyone has a chance going into the Tour Championship doesn't it just make the other events silly? Vijay won twice - the only person who deserved a chance to beat him was Villegas.
Bob Harig (4:23 PM)
The Tour Championship needs drama. That last two have had none, really, at least in regards to the FedEx Cup. It will put a premium on getting to the Tour Championship, too. Players knowing that if they just get there they'll have a crack at $10-million could be pretty compelling. And we need to have there be some excitement starting out on Thursday of the Tour Championship.
Silver Fox (Miami, FL)
How much with the recession affect major golf in terms of TV and the lower class fan attending tournaments?
Bob Harig (4:24 PM)
I'm not economist, not even close, but common sense suggests that the current state of the economy will have an effect on golf, as well as all sports. Whether it's corporate sponsorship deals or the little guy buying tickets, there will undoubtedly be cutbacks. Tournaments will have to get creative, find ways to get people to come out, perhaps lower prices or offer more incentives.
Cowboy Ron (Piston, PA)
Mr. Harig, who is the most physically intimidating golfer on the tour? If you say tiger than i quit this chat.
Bob Harig (4:26 PM)
Ron, I don't think there is a physically intimidating golfer, not even Tiger. Nobody has to get worried about being run over in golf. Tiger is intimidating because of how he hits a golf ball, how he gets out of trouble, how he holes pressure putts. That makes his opponents know they can't make a lot of mistakes. That is how they get intimidated.
With so many of the top pros complaining about the length of the schedule and wanting the PGA season to end earlier and now we see the same guys commiting to playing even more by accepting dual membership on the Euro tour, doesn't it all ring hollow at this point?
Bob Harig (4:29 PM)
Brad, you make an interesting point. The shortening of the season is allowing a good number of PGA Tour players to compete overseas, as we are seeing in China this week. But I will say this: they really are not playing more by commiting to the European Tour. To play both tours requires that a player compete in just 20 tournaments total: 15 on the PGA Tour, of which seven count in Europe. They then must add five more to meet the 12-tourney minimum, thus 20. If anything, guys continue to cut back their schedules.
I heard that Augusta is actually shortening the course for this year's Masters. How come it took them so long to figure out lengthening the course only helps the long hitters?
Bob Harig (4:30 PM)
Pete, I wouldn't read too much into it. They shortened the yardage on the card by about 10 yards. And they gave themselve some room to shorten a few holes, such as the seventh if the weather is bad. The course will still play very long.
A. Croshere (Woonsocket, RI)
Mr. Harig: worse golf movie...Caddyshack II or Bagger Vance?
Bob Harig (4:32 PM)
I have said this before: there might not be a worse movie ever -- let along sports or golf -- than CaddyShack II
For the Cup, would they ever do a final event when players got strokes? In other words, if you were in the top 10 in points, you would start even. If in 11-20 range, you would start with a one stroke penalty, etc. This would reward players who are playing better, and make somebody behind "earn" it if they play really well.
Bob Harig (4:34 PM)
They basically do that now with the points. Guys at the top have more points and those behind have to make up ground.
Cowboy Ron from Piston, PA, have you seen my guns? Next question.
Bob Harig (4:38 PM)
I don't think Camilo intimidates anyone, either. It's all about hitting the shots and making the putts.
Orlando (Bronx, NY)
To make golf more popular to the casual and minority fan, do you think they would ever have a match play tournmaent to end the season with the winner taking the year championship?
Bob Harig (4:39 PM)
Match Play scares the heck out of the TV folks, and that is ultimately who pays the bills. So, no, I don't see it happening. There is too much air tme to fill, too much of a chance that the name players will get tripped up along the way.
Why are there no Mexican golfers?
Bob Harig (4:40 PM)
Lorenoa Ochoa and Esteban Toledo would likely take issue with the question.
Bob Harig (4:42 PM)
Reba, Tom Watson was phenomenal -- and went head to head with Nickluas in majors several times. But it's hard to not say Tiger. He's won six more majors than Watson, 50 percent more tournaments.
Gene, Cape Verde
I know you said Tiger's not physically intimidating but how does that factor into the results?
Bob Harig (4:43 PM)
Gene, that's the point. I don't think physical appearance is what makes a player intimidating. Corey Pavin certainly wasn't physically intimidating, but I bet you he scared a lot of people with his ability to score. That's what it is about.
Kelsey (Clarion, PA)
Bob - What's your take on the Euro tour? PGA's minor leagues?
Bob Harig (4:44 PM)
Kelsey, there was once that perception, but I don't think it's true. The only thing the European Tour lacks is the depth of the PGA Tour.
Jim Rascal (Cape Town)
Was wondering if you ever broke a club in anger after hitting one in the rough? Do professionals ever do that?
Bob Harig (4:47 PM)
Jim, I've never broken a club, but it happens. Ask Mark Calcavecchia about a few putters that have met their demise.
Bob, great chat first of all. But I find Kelsey's comment about the Euro tour very offensive. Am I way off base?
Bob Harig (4:49 PM)
Campbell, I think it's a fair question. A lot of people dont' recognize the names of the European Tour players, Not all of them perform well when they play the PGA Tour. So some think it is inferior. It's not, but it simply does not offer the depth of talent. In other words. I would say that the 75th player on the European money list is not as good as the 75th on the PGA Tour.
Shaun (St. Cloud, MN)
What's you're predection for who the top 3 golfers are in the World Rankings when Tiger next takes the course?
Bob Harig (4:50 PM)
Shaun, I don't really think I'm going out on a limb here: I think it will be as it is now: Tiger, Phil, Sergio.. There is a chance Sergio could overtake Phil for the No. 2 spot.
Is the Wachovia Championship still going to be a premiere event on the tour with all that is going on with the bank?
Bob Harig (4:52 PM)
Pete, there are definitely some questions about the tournament now that Wachovia has been purchased by another company. But there is a contract that the company must honor. And the people who run the event will want to make sure it remains at its current high level. The sponsorship dollars are only the beginning of running a tournament. Much of the other money raised is through lower level sponsorships.
Ken (barbie's dream house)
Does Anthony Kim come back to earth a little in 09 - I love his game but I'm thinking no wins in 09 with a big bounce back in 2010
Bob Harig (4:53 PM)
Ken, it's possible, but I look for Kim to build on 08, not regress from it. He should have gained a ton of confidence from what he accomplished this year.
Cowboy Ron (Pistol, PA)
I saw your question earlier about the Champions Tour. What do you think is that league's biggest problem with marketing? They have big names? Is it that only old people like to watch old people play golf?
Bob Harig (4:56 PM)
I actually think the Champions Tour does quite well in many of the communities where the events are played. But to expect senior golf to compete in such a crowded sports landscape on television is tough. The tour probably has too many events, which waters down the product But there is no question there is excellent golf played on the Champions Tour by a lot of great players.
Shaun (St Cloud, MN)
Who could you see that is high in the World Rankings and then having a very disappointing 2009 like Adam Scott, Geoff Ogilvy, and Rory Sabbatini this season?
Bob Harig (4:58 PM)
I hate to say they will have a disappointing year, but Vijay Singh is fourth and it is hard to envision him staying there. Kenny Perry is 18th and it is tough to see him staying in the top 20.
Clubber Lang (parts unknown)
Does the game of golf needs to have its pace quicked a bit to keep the younger/fast paced fans interested?
Bob Harig (4:59 PM)
There is no doubt that golf is too slow. It cripples the game at all levels. Amateurs watch the pros play slow so they think it is okay. Then rounds take 5 or 6 hours at public courses, which discourages people from playing. A vicious cyle.
Al Loeb (Miami< FL)
Was wondering which major first caught your fancy and made you a big big fan. I think it was the Masters with Jack that got me when I was just a chitlin.
Bob Harig (5:02 PM)
Al, I remember the 1980 U.S. Open. Nicklaus was 40 at the time and people thought he was past his prime. He hadn't won in all of 1979. Then he won the Open at Baltusrol and I remember the "Jack is Back" sign placed on the scoreboard. Then of course he won the PGA that year, too. Pretty good.
Bob Harig (5:03 PM)
I'm out of time folks. Thanks for all your questions and hope to see you back here soon. Take care.
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