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 (2:00 PM)
Hello, welcome back to another golf chat. Lots going on in the world of golf at the moment. Phil Mickelson is playing his first tournament of the year at the FBR Open. Another great field many time zones away in Dubai. Monty's been named the European Ryder Cup captain. Or anything else in golf you want to talk about. So fire away.
Will Tiger be back in April?
Bob Harig (2:01 PM)
Steiny, our many from New York leads off again. Well, I think many would love to see Tiger return before April. He's not offered many clues. You would think he wants to play once or twice before the Masters and there will continue to be speculation. My guess is he comes back in March.
Jacob (Katy, Texas)
Everyone is asking how the economic situation will affect the PGA Tour. I was wondering what impact it will have on the Champions Tour?
Bob Harig (2:06 PM)
Jacob, you might have seen yesterday that the Ginn company is pulling its golf sponsorships, which means a Champions Tour event in Florida in March will be affeced, and perhaps shut down. But I think there are two ways to look at this. Sure, all of golf needs to be concerned. It is expensive to sponsor tournaments and these companies might be looking to cut back. But for some, the Champions Tour might prove to be a more cost-effective alternative. Sponsoring a Champions Tour event is probably 1/3rd the cost, maybe less. And if you are more into entertaining and hospitality than TV ratings, the Champions Tour could benefit from companies looking for a relative bargain.
How is Kim's shoulder feeling?
Bob Harig (2:07 PM)
Steiny, all over the golf scene! For those who didn't follow, Anthony Kim pulled out of the Bob Hope last week, citing a sore shoulder. He had an MRI and all is fine. He said it's tender, but more something he wanted to be careful with. He's playing in the FBR this week.
Jeff (Columbus, OH)
Do guys like Snedeker and Weekley get appearance fees for their European Tour starts? If so what type of figure do they pull in?
Bob Harig (2:09 PM)
Jeff, the subject of appearance fees is a very interesting one. I do not know for sure, but my guess is they did get something, even if it was simply airfare or lodging. It was a long way to go for one tournament for both of those guys -- they both missed the cut, too. We all know that Tiger gets big seven-figure paydays for such an appearance but the thought here is those guys don't get anywhere near that much, but something to make it worth their while.
Is Els the favorite at Dubai with Woods out?
Bob Harig (2:11 PM)
Steiny, Ernie has never finished outside of the top 10 at Dubia, but he's off to an ordinary start and didn't complete his first round
Chris (Providence, RI)
Does the 16th at FBR draw contention for the toughest tee shot in golf? Sawgrass 17? Augusta 18 if you are in the lead and playing with Tiger?
Bob Harig (2:14 PM)
Chris, I think you would find a variety of answers on that from players. The 16th itself is no big deal, but it's the atmosphere that makes it so much more interesting. I would think getting past that, players would find that 17th at TPC or the 18th at Augusta much more difficult, given the danger that lurks. The only danger at TPC Scottsdale is getting booed.
What are your thoughts on Davis Love III getting in to the HOF. I think a guy who has won 25% of his tournaments on one course (Hilton Head) and has been such an underachiever in the Majors would cheapen its meaning.
Bob Harig (2:16 PM)
Robert, excellent question and comment. Do you deny someone just because they did not live up to your perceived potential? Do you just look at the raw numbers? Do you compare him to others? It's tough. 20 wins, to me, is very significant. There are just not many through the history of the game who have done it. Ben Crenshaw, with 19 wins and two majors, is in the Hall. Davis has 20 wins, one major, and two Players Championships. My personal view is players should not be voted in until they are 50. (Don't ask me what I'll do when Tiger turns 40,though.)
Sobel said he nearly smoked a line-drive off a security guard's head when he teed off on #16 this week. Have you ever played Scottsdale?
Bob Harig (2:17 PM)
Jay, I've never played there, Obviously Jason hasn't been taking advantage of those heated indoor driving ranges in Connecticut. Guess we should be glad he got it airborne.
What are your thoughts on Westwood endorsing Monty for Ryder Cup captain?
Bob Harig (2:19 PM)
Steiny, one thing about the Europeans, they do a very good job of getting on the same page when it comes to the Ryder Cup. It would be difficult to knock the pick given Monty's Ryder Cup record.
How will Phil look to open the 2009 season today?
Bob Harig (2:22 PM)
Greg, my thought is that Phil will come out strong. He traditionally does. He takes the offseason to regroup but also focus on his game. If you look at his career, most of his success has come in the early part.
I think that the FBR is a great tournament and that the 16th hole is fantastic. It truly is one of a kind on the PGA tour. In some articles written, some pros like it or love it, do you think anyone would actually skip this event on purpose because of the atmosphere on the 16th hole?
Bob Harig (2:26 PM)
Marc, I would hope not. It's one hole out of one tournament! These are pros who should have not problem blocking out the distractions. And hopefully they embrace the atmosphere, recognize something like this is good for golf, and a little variety helps spce things up.
Jacob (katy, TX)
What do you make of Anthony Kim saying he is not a fan of golf.
Bob Harig (2:27 PM)
Jacob, I don't understand it, really. How you not be a fan of the sport you play for a living? Maybe that's part of it, it becomes a job. I don't know. You'd think these guys would want to embrace all the history and knowledge of the game they play, learn all about it. Kim didn't even know how many majors Tiger had won. Who doesn't know that?
Chris, Holyoke MA
Bob. please rank these in most to least likely to win a PGA event again....Duval, Daly, Azinger, Langer
Bob Harig (2:30 PM)
Chris, tough one. I think Langer is the most likely because he is in great shape and still playing quite well, even though he's on the Champions Tour. I would put Daly second, because he still has the talent and ability. Azinger is next, because he could catch lightning in a bottle, but simply appears to not play enough to give himself enough chances. I put Duval last because it's been so long, and despite a lot of work, he's not getting any closer.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
Can you let Greg (1999) know that Phil will look fat and doughy today?
Bob Harig (2:32 PM)
Cosmo, you might be surprised. Phil typically comes back pretty fit.
AJ, Waltham, MA
Who is your sleeper pick for Player of the Year?
Bob Harig (2:35 PM)
AJ, it's hard to call anybody a sleeper. A surprise maybe. I think few of us would have thought a year ago at this time that Padraig Harrington would be player of the year. How about Mickelson? He's certanly not a sleeper, but amazingly, he's never been player of the year.
Chris, Holyoke MA
I guess what I really want to know is....where is Duval and his game right now? Does he even have tour status?
Bob Harig (2:37 PM)
Chris, Duval is exempt this year, using a one-time exemption for players who rank among the top 50 on the all-time money list. Where is his game is harder to know? After making just five cuts in 20 tournaments last year, Duval missed the cut in his only appearance this year at the Bob Hope -- where 10 years ago he shot 59.
McIlroy took the early lead at Dubai. Can he hold on?
Bob Harig (2:40 PM)
Steiny, McIlroy is going to be around for a long time and he got off to a great start with a 64. But it's only one round, and until he gets that first victory. . . .
Lets just say that Tiger comes back at Bay Hill and then plays the next week at Doral. Do you seem him being able to win one of those two before teeing it up for The Masters. Will he be trying to win or just traing to get back in the flow of things?
Bob Harig (2:42 PM)
Matt, good question. First the order in Florida is different this year. It goes Honda, Doral, Tampa, Bay Hill. . . So if Bay Hill is his first, it would be his only tournament before the Masters. And I don't think he will come back until he feels he is ready to win. I don't sense he wants to be out there just to be a part of the scene.
Who do you think is more likely to add another major title this year: Mickelson or Harrington?
Bob Harig (2:43 PM)
Geoff, tough one, because they are both capable. But I'd go with Mickelson, simply because I believe he feels a sense of urgency. He had a good year last year, but not so good in the majors. He seemed to get focused on it in the offseaon. We'll see.
What are you hearing about Sergio becoming the captain of the 2029 Ryder Cup?
Bob Harig (2:45 PM)
Steiny, with some humor. Garcia will be 49 at that time, so it's possible -- although you're forgetting something. Ryder Cup is in even-numbered years, so it would either be 2028 or 2030.
Brad (Bristow, VA)
Phil is looking mighty daper today!
Bob Harig (2:45 PM)
Brad, thanks for that report!
Paul, (New York)
You have made the case that Sandy Lyle has been overlooked for the Euro Ryder Cup Team. What about Mark O'Meara for the US?
Bob Harig (2:50 PM)
Paul, I don't see O'Meara in the same light. He was never regarded in the same was as Lyle was one of the stars of Europe. Yes, O'Meara won two majors, but they came late in his career. He did play on five Ryder Cup teams. If there was an arguement, perhaps you could have said he was more deserving than Tom Lehman in 2006. But I still say Larry Nelson deserved it more than either Lehman or O'Meara.
Dan (New York)
So if DL3 is a HOF does that mean Couples is too?
Bob Harig (2:51 PM)
Dan, I didn't say that Davis was in, but he will get a lot of consideration. Couples is interesting because of his popularity. He only has 15 wins, so do you chalk that up to injuries or underachieving? Tough call on Fred.
Brad (Bristow, VA)
Sergio becoming captain is as likely as Big John Daly getting his tour card again... not going to happen!
Bob Harig (2:52 PM)
Brad, I'm not so sure about that. Sergio's Ryder Cup record is phenomenal and he's just 29. He might play in another five or six Ryder Cups and own all the records. He'd be tough to ignore.
Paul, (New York)
What was the thinking then in putting Cory Pavin above both Larry Nelson (I agree very deserving) and O'Meara?
Bob Harig (2:54 PM)
Paul, Nelson's time, unfortunately, has passed.He is 61 and they really like the guy to be in his late 40s. Nelson should have probably gotten the gig in 1997 when Seve was captain for Europe and push everyone else back. O'Meara is in his 50s now, also sort of beyond the age range.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
So Phil manages to get fat during the season? Impressive.
Bob Harig (2:55 PM)
Cosmo, kind of tough on Phil, huh? I'm just saying that he uses the offseason to do things he might not be working on when he is concentrating more on his game.
Does AK have a chance to take on Tiger for supremacy?
Bob Harig (2:56 PM)
Mike, a chance, yes. But we're talking about a chance. A lot has to happen. AK has played in five majors, Tiger's won 14. AK has never finished ahead of Tiger in any stroke-play tournament. I think we need to see him finish ahead of Tiger just one time first.
Brad (Bristow, VA)
In a recent interview Phil was quoted, "I've spent the last nine days practicing, and I had a good couple months off where I really didn't play much." Will this amount of time off effect his chances of winning this weekend? Is he counting this tournament as his warm-up?
Bob Harig (3:01 PM)
Brad, it's tough to say. Typically Phil comes back strong. He usually ready to go for the first tournament, and plays often on the West Coast. He might be viewing this week as a warm-up, but I'm guessing it won't take him long.
Bob Harig (3:01 PM)
Okay folks, I'm out of time. Thanks for all the great questions. I'll be at Torrey Pines next week and we can chat some more. Enjoy the Super Bowl -- and the golf.
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