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.
Send your questions now and join Bob on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET for all the answers.
Harig Archive: Columns
Bob Harig (2:03 PM)
Hello everyone, thanks for checking in for another golf chat. Most of you in the U.S. have to be pretty envious turning on the TV and seeing those pictures from the California desert at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. Halfway around the world, it looks pretty warm in Qatar, too. Golf is heating up again. Let's get going with your questions
Bruce, Oldsmar, FL
PGA Tour players dress pretty much the same these days - vanilla. Why did they stop wearing outfits that looked as though they'd been caught in an explosion at a Crayola factory?
Bob Harig (2:04 PM)
Bruce, I think the simple answer is they don't like the idea of being referred to as having been caught in an explosion at a Crayola factory. They toned it down. Then again, you've maybe not caught Ian Poulter or Jesper Parnevik. Those guys didn't get the memo, apparently.
Olazabal has been given two weeks to decide his Ryder Cup future. Where do you think he will go?
Bob Harig (2:06 PM)
Steiny, it appears that Olazabal has been passed by in favor of Colin Montgomerie, with the idea that Olazabal will take the job in 2012 when the Ryder Cup returns to the U.S. That's not official, but we're supposed to get word next week.
Cathy, Woodstock, Ontario
How's Brett Wetterich's shoulder? Will he be back to his top 30 form as he was in 2007?
Bob Harig (2:10 PM)
Cathy, Wetterich was hampered by injuries again last year and didn't play after the Memorial, and has yet to make a start this year, which suggests he is not ready to return yet. He will play on a major medical extnesion, which means he has 17 events to earn more than 731,000 -- which would make him equal to last year's top 125 finisher. It's a shame considering where he just was a few years ago.
Should Monty be the next Ryder Cup captain?
Bob Harig (2:12 PM)
Steiny, I think it's great if Monty is going to be the captain. It sure will add a lot of spice to the Ryder Cup. I still say, however, that Sandy Lyle not gettting the captaincy is sad. He won two majors, played in five Ryder Cups, was part of Europe's Big Five -- and the only one not to get the captaincy. Monty could still take a turn later.
who wins more majors Tiger or Harrington?
Bob Harig (2:13 PM)
Brian, I assume you're referring to 2009, and I would say there's no assurance that either one is going to win a major this year. But of course, if you pressed me, I'd probably be a fool not to go with Tiger.
Do you expect Tiger to be healthy enough to win at Augusta?
Bob Harig (2:15 PM)
Jason, I think he'll be healthy, the question is whether he will be prepared in terms of golf. I would never doubt him, but he's now going on seven months without competing. Playing a tournament or two before the Masters would certainly help.
Euro Tour unhappy with Monty Ryder Cup bets. Can you understand that?
Bob Harig (2:17 PM)
Steiny, the implication was that people who know about the situation leaked it, leading to a huge number of wagers being placed on Monty in the U.K. -- when he had be nowhere on the radar previously.Doesn't look good.
Do you see Chris DiMarco and Zach Johnson being in contention again this year? They seemed to disappear last year.
Bob Harig (2:20 PM)
Mike, you saw that Johnson just won in Hawaii -- his second win in six events.He also won the Texas Open in the fall after, as you said, he had all but disappeared... DiMarco is another story, but he got off to a good start this week at the Hope.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
Stevie Williams vs. Phil and caddy in a fist fight - who wins?
Bob Harig (2:21 PM)
Cosmo, nobody wins in that battle.
Cathy Woodstock, Ont
How do you think Rory Sabbatini is going to fair this year?
Bob Harig (2:23 PM)
Cathy, Sabbatini was a disappointment last year. After his Tiger smack in 07 and a lot of good golf, he fell off a good bit. But he got off to a decent start with a tie for 12th last week, and there is no reason to think he won't rebound.
What event are you most looking forward to before Augusta?
Bob Harig (2:28 PM)
Matt, I have to say the event where Tiger comes back. I'm not sure there will be a tournament more anticipated -- and that's assuming he comes back before the Masters. And we're not quite sure which one that is yet. .. Taking Tiger out of it, I always look forward to Pebble Beach. That has, to me, always been a big sign that golf is really back. And it's hard to beat the views.
IAn, NY NY
What do you think about Boo Weekeley and his trip to Qatar. Probably one of the funniest things ive ever seen
Bob Harig (2:30 PM)
Ian, Boo is funny, period. The idea of him going all the way to Qatar -- and not really knowing where he was going at first -- just adds to his legend. But I always qualify everything in reference to Boo: he can play.
Do you think Ryder heroes Weekley, Holmes and Mahan will win a major this year?
Bob Harig (2:31 PM)
Mike, I'm not sure any of them will, but in my mind Mahan has the best shot, simply because he's a better putter. But we're still talking about a guy with only one career victory.
Cathy Woodstock Ont
Who would be your sleeper pick for winning a major this year?
Bob Harig (2:32 PM)
Cathy, I think I'll stick with my last answer. I think Hunter Mahan is a good sleeper pick -- if you can call him a sleeper. He's highly ranked, just hasn't won a lot.
Every year it seems these big hitting young kids make some noise. But they never seem to win any big tournaments because they can't putt. Is there anyone on the horizon, other than maybe Kim, who can putt a little bit?
Bob Harig (2:35 PM)
Mike, you make a great point. Some of the best players in the world -- Sergio, Adam Scott for example -- can't seem to putt well enough to win. Anthony Kim breaks the mold, and that will be a big help. I'm having a hard time coming up with any truly long hitters coming along who are deft on the greens.
Please tell me Phil wins another major this year. No offense to Harrington, but I want a local boy winning our majors played domestically.
Bob Harig (2:37 PM)
Pete, if I could tell you that, I'd be like those guys in the U.K. pushing down his odds. I certainly think Mickelson is capable, and I have a feeling he'll come back ready to get after it. As hard as it is to believe, the Masters will mark three years since he won his last major at the '06 Masters.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
What is the appropriate age to force my kids to start playing golf?
Bob Harig (2:39 PM)
Cosmo, I think you know the "force" and "appropriate" do not go together when it comes to kids and golf. But seriously, I think there's a pretty simple rule of thumb: if their attention span does not allow them to swing a club and hit practice balls for at least 10-15 minutes at a time, it's too soon. In other words, if they hit two balls and then want to go chasing after other kids or something else, they're not ready.
Bob, I'm going to play the Plantation Course next month? Any tips to keep it under 100?
Bob Harig (2:41 PM)
Mike, that is funny that you would ask me. One thing that can help is to play from the front tees. I know that helps my colleague Jason Sobel.
Riley Grant (Denver)
Hey Bob, the sport of Golf is a "rich" sport. Agree?
Bob Harig (2:44 PM)
Riley, not necessarily. There are many public golf courses that are very inexpensive, especially in this economy. You can buy used clubs for a pittance. Nobody says you have to have top of the line stuff or play the best courses to enjoy the game. That said, I think we all know,that gofl can be very expensive, too.
How did Els change his game?
Bob Harig (2:48 PM)
Steiny, I'm not sure exactly what you are referring to. I think Els' game has changed since he injuried he knee back in 2005.He wasn't quite right for a long time after that. But he has at time shown flashes of the player who won three majors.
Do you think Kvin Streelman can improve on his 2008 season?
Bob Harig (2:50 PM)
Jack, he had a heck of a year in 2008. The way to do it, of course, would be to win a tournament. And he put himself there a few times. He might need to get more of that experience. If he does, he'll have a better year.
Jacob (katy, TX)
Why does the hope play 90 holes?
Bob Harig (2:53 PM)
Jacob, I think the bottom line reason is economics. They can charge more money to the pro-am participants -- there are more than 300 of them -- if they get to play four rounds instead of three or two or one. And this way, after those four rounds, the pros get the fifth roundto themselves. .. The format calls for everyone to play each course once. Then the final round is played on the host course.
What are your thoughts on Perez taking the first-round lead at Bob Hope?
Bob Harig (2:55 PM)
Steiny, I thought for a time Pat Perez was going to shoot 58. I mean, 8 under par -- 28 -- for nine holes? Amazing. Unfortunately at the Hope, shooting 61 doesn't get you very far ahead.
Why did George Lopez get the boot as the host? I enjoyed watching him last year
Bob Harig (2:59 PM)
X, good question. I'm not sure we really know. I believe there was a perception that he might have been a bit too racey, that his act didn't play well with the demographics (read: older) of the tournament. It's a shame. Most people thought Lopez did a great job and worked very hard at it.
Riley Grant (Denver)
But Bob, I mean the audience are all dressed in polos and khakis, that's rich. I mean you wouldn't find a homeless person on the Golf course.
Bob Harig (3:01 PM)
Riley, I've been to my share of golf tournaments, and they are attended by all walks of life. Sure, you are unlikely to find a homeless person there, just as you would be unlikely to find one at a football game, too.
Do you know why Howell III pulled out this week? Except for last year, he has historically had a fast start to the year. And especially coming off a top 4 finish last week.
Bob Harig (3:02 PM)
Kyle, Howell was supposed to play but withdrew due to the death of a grandparent.
Bob Harig (3:03 PM)
Okay folks, I'm out of time.. . Thanks for all the questions and please check back again next week. Enjoy.
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