Chat with Jason Sobel
Among his other duties, Sobel writes a weekly column, the "Weekly 18."
Send your questions now and join Jason on Thursday at 11 a.m. ET!
Jason Sobel (11:00 AM)
Good morning, golf fans. I'm here at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Marana, Ariz., where I will live blog Tiger Woods' second-round match later today (12:02 ET blog start, 2:02 ET tee time). You've got me here for the next 30 minutes, though, so let's get through some rapid fire golf questions...
Nick (New York, NY)
How did yesterday's conditions impact the match? Implications for today?
Jason Sobel (11:01 AM)
It was reported that we would see gusts of up to 30 mph yesterday afternoon, but it never happened. I don't think I felt anything more than 10-15 mph breezes -- maybe a half-club wind. Supposed to be even more benign today, so don't expect weather conditions to be a factor.
Nick (New York, NY)
I want to pick this match for Streak for the Cash, and so I'm trying to decide whether Tiger will win on holes 10-15, or 16-18. What do you think?
Jason Sobel (11:02 AM)
I'd go 16-18. Tim Clark is a gritty type of player, won't go away easily. If you match their scorecards up from yesterday, Clark would have been 1-up on TW through 16 holes.
Chris Kretz - Wisconsin
Did you see Stricker's bracket? After his win, he plays Els. If he beats Els, odds are he'll play Singh. If he beats Singh, odds are he'll play Mickelson. If he beats Mickelson, odds are he'll play Tiger. He has to get through those players just to make it to the Championship. If Strick makes it through that crew, he should get the world's #1 ranking for the week - then he can give it back to Tiger, regardless if he wins the championship round or not. I sure hope Strick's not looking ahead!
Jason Sobel (11:04 AM)
You can say that about anyone in the stacked Hogan bracket. I mean, Singh/Donald, Els/Stricker, Mickelson/Johnson and Westwood/Cink -- any of those eight players could make it through and it would hardly be considered an upset. And whomever does make it to Saturday afternoon from that group will have beaten a bunch of great players on his way there.
Michael (Lubbock, Tx)
If there is one player left in the field that would be considered a "dream" matchup for fans against Tiger who would you go with? Kim in the finals? Mickelson in the semis?
Jason Sobel (11:06 AM)
Ever since this tournament was first introduced in 1999, there's been one match that everyone has wanted to see and has never come to fruition. But if Tiger and Phil could each make it to the semis and face each other, it would be HUGE. Kim would be nice, Rory McIlroy tomorrow would be a blast ... but Mickelson is the one that we all want to see.
George (Charlotte, NC)
With Garcia, Rose, Scott, Karlsson and Perry all losing yesterday, who do you see making it out of the Player bracket?
Jason Sobel (11:07 AM)
Wide open. I know he's a 15 seed, but I sort of like DL3 out of those eight players. He's got the motivation factor, too. A strong showing here would have him on the inside track of getting into the Masters.
Ken (New Orleans, La)
Who would be your dark horse for this tournament? Considering some of the upsets yesterday.
Jason Sobel (11:08 AM)
Hell if I know. I had Andres Romero in the finals and he's gone, so it's just tough to predict. But if I have to go with a guy that most casual fans have never heard of, check out Mathew Goggin. He's an Aussie who's ready to make a splash. Keeps coming close, but only a matter of time before he breaks through for a big win.
Keith (Detroit, MI)
So who the heck is Schwartzel?? Will Sergio ever learn to finish his rounds, or was this a situation of being in the wrong place at the wrong time?
Jason Sobel (11:10 AM)
Good young player from South Africa. A bad loss for Sergio, sure, but let's not be so quick to criticize this guy. At age 29, he already owns 18 (I think) international victories and is ranked No. 2 in the world. That major championship win is coming soon -- maybe even this year.
Scott, Richmond VA
All golf channel was talking about was how slow the greens are...Tiger said it was the slower he's ever played on tour, completely unplayable if they had been at tour speed...Do they seem that much more difficult than normal? Do they plan to speed them up for the weekend?
Jason Sobel (11:11 AM)
Yeah, they are very slow -- but they have to be. These greens have so many "dead elephants" in them -- which is to say, lots of contours -- that if they were fast, they'd be impossible. So give a little credit to the folks setting up this course. It could have turned out to be the U.S. Open, circa 2004.
Sean (Boston, MA)
How exciting has it been for you and the the crowds walking alongside Tiger during his return? What has the atmosphere been like, especially yesterday?
Jason Sobel (11:13 AM)
I don't want to overstate it and say it was the most zealous Tiger crowd I've ever seen, because it wasn't. But for the first round of a non-major event? Absolutely the most energy we've seen from a gallery. And it's always fun to walk amongst that and soak it in.
Miguel, Jackosnville, FL
We really didn't see much about Mcilroy how well was his game yesterday? I hope to see Tiger and Mcilroy match tomorrow.
Jason Sobel (11:15 AM)
I'm telling you, folks, if you haven't seen this kid yet, you're missing out. He's 19, just won in Dubai a few weeks ago and is already ranked No. 16 in the world. Oh, and like Tiger, he absolutely bombs it. With bigger crowds tomorrow (Fridays are always better because people seem to be able to/want to get out of work early and come to the course), a Tiger/Rory match would be electric.
Ken: (Falcon, CO)
Folks are saying if Tiger comes back strong and reasserts his dominance over the field that it will be bad for the sport and boring (ala Tyson and Boxing)...your thoughts?
Jason Sobel (11:18 AM)
This week's return and the amount of interest it has generated should reinforce the notion that Tiger may not be bigger than the game, but he certainly is the biggest thing going. If he dominates this year, people will still watch and marvel at his accomplishments.
What about drug testing for PGA pros. Don't you think they should implement some sort of drug testing policy especially with the dark cloud that hangs over all sports. Tiger's comeback is pretty amazing, but how can he be held above suspicion?
Jason Sobel (11:20 AM)
They already do drug testing. Was implemented at last year's AT&T National.
Keith (Middletown, DE)
Why has Lefty played so inconsistently this year? I need dramamine to watch him because it is such a roller coaster ride.
Jason Sobel (11:21 AM)
I think I used the term "roller-coaster ride" about 10 times in my Weekly 18 column this past week. I'm with you -- have absolutely no idea if we're going to see Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde on any given week.
If Tiger loses today, will ESPN even cover the rest of the event? Will any analysis be written? From the coverage so far, I say no.
Jason Sobel (11:23 AM)
Look, we cover this sport 365 days a year, writing and analyzing every single player out there. This week is about Tiger and as long as he is playing, he is -- by FAR -- the biggest story in the game. It's not even close.
Silky Johnson (St. Augustine, FL)
How does a place with greens so ridiculous that they have to keep them this slow get ahold of the Match Play Championship? Seems silly to me. Obviously, there's real estate money involved, but this is a prestigious event and the venue should be taken more seriously. Am I right?
Jason Sobel (11:25 AM)
You couldn't be more right. Let me be frank: The location of this tournament is an absolute joke. First of all, it's ridiculous that the three WORLD -- stress that word -- Golf Championship events are all played in the U.S. But the fact that the most unique of those three is played in a small town north of Tucson, originally at one generic resort course and now moved to another generic resort course down the road? The PGA Tour should be ashamed of itself. Have a little self-respect. There are 1,000 courses worldwide that deserve to host this event before this place. But yes, you're right -- it's all about the Benjamins.
What do you think about Villegas' chances this week? He wiped the floor with Pampling yesterday.
Jason Sobel (11:28 AM)
Like his chances, but then again, you could ask me, "What do you think about ______ chances this week?" and my response for this unpredictable tourney would be, "Sure, I could see that." Not being wishy-washy; that's just the way it is.
Jimbo (Mt Pleasant, NB)
So...did you get snagged in any cactus needles as you moved with the masses and typed your thoughts inton your BlackBerry?
Jason Sobel (11:30 AM)
No, but I may have been the only one to elude the needles yesterday, as many of my media brethren were attacked in the desert. I have no doubt something will jump up and bite me while I walk around typing with my thumbs on the course today.
Jason Sobel (11:31 AM)
With that, time to close out the chat. Check out the live blog starting in 30 minutes -- and send lots of questions. Received about 1,200 e-mails yesterday, which is unbelievable. Let's keep it going. Thanks for the questions...