Chat with Bob Harig
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com golf writer Bob Harig will stop by to talk about the 2009 golf season.
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 to chat Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Bob Harig (2:00 PM)
Hello, thanks for checking in. I see they're going low at the Buick Open and Greg Norman is at the top of the U.S. Senior Open leaderboard. The LPGA is playing its British Open. Lots going on in golf. All golf-related questions are welcome. Fire away.
Flair (Victoria, BC)
Hey Bob,Gee whiz - the RCGA can't get a break. The Canadian Open has the worst spot on the schedule AND it's constantly plagued by bad weather. How does the PGA schedule its events? Any chance the CO will be moved?Thanks!
Bob Harig (2:01 PM)
Flair, I don't think I could have said it any better. Being the week following the British Open is a bad deal. The tour would be better off having an open week than expecting the top players to travel five time zones to play another national championship. . That said, the PGA Tour has lots of scheduling issues. If not the Canadian Open, who else gets the dreaded spot? For the time being, the Canadian Open is in that spot, but you can bet they'd love to move elsewhere.
Big MAJ fan over here. Does he play any tournaments in American besides the Majors? We need to see more of that cat.
Bob Harig (2:04 PM)
I assume you are speaking of Miguel Angel Jimenez, and since he is not a member of the PGA Tour, his U.S. appearances are limited to the majors and WGC events, with an occasional sponsor exemption thrown in.
What is exactly wrong with The Scientist's vision? I know he has a blister on his retina, but can he literally not see out of one eye? I'm surprised it's bad enough for him to have to miss all the majors this year.
Bob Harig (2:05 PM)
It's a very tough deal. Robert Karlsson, No. 1 in Europe last year, is being forced to miss his third straight major because of an eye problem. He's got a blister behind his retina and it is causing blurred vision. He's been practicing and wants to play, but apparently stress makes it worse. So they're telling him to wait.
What do you think is the future of Padraig Harrington's swing? At the British Open, I heard he had rehired his old coach to help get back to the form that got him two titles-is that true?
Bob Harig (2:07 PM)
Harrington is still working with the same coach, Bob Torrance, whom he has worked with for 13 years. They simply went back to some basics. As for Harrington's swing, he seems to think it is worth it in the long-term to have some short-term setbacks. . We'll see.
Brian (Westborough MA)
Any word on what will replace the Buick Open on the schedule next year. If you could pick a course that doesn't already host a tour event which would you pick for it? If not a new premier course t would be nice if they either let the Canadian Open have that spot and have a better field, or if they went back to Castle Pines.
Bob Harig (2:09 PM)
Brian, the rumor mill has the tour using the Buick date for a tournament at the Greenbrier in West Virginia. The resort would also be the title sponsor, which kills two birds for the tour. It's not just about the course and the venue but about who is willing to put up the big bucks. .. As for places that don't have a tour event, so many are deserving. St. Louis, Philadelphia, Seattle, Indy. Lots of places don't have tour golf.
Hrair (Lexington, MA)
I was reading on Walter Hagen that he won the Western Open 5 times back when it was probably the 3rd biggest tournament in the world. Sounds to me like this was a major and i've even seen it referred to as one. Why does he not get credit for that? If the Western Open and Canadian Opens were part of the four biggest tournaments in the world, he would have 17 majors.
Bob Harig (2:11 PM)
During its day, the Western Open was considered a "major." But how do you go back and re-write history? If you give Walter Hagen five Western Opens what about Tiger and Jack Nicklaus, who have also won the Western?At some point in time, likely in the mid-50s, it was sort of deemed that the Masters, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA were deemed the four biggest tournaments. That is unfair to Hagen, who played most of his career before the Masters was even born. But it's not easy trying to sort through it now.
Tom (Worcester, MA)
Why is golf the only sport that we don't get to watch every moment of? I remember in the Deutsche Bank in 07 Woods and Mickelson were paired together for the frist 2 days. The second day they had a morning tee time and not a single shot was televised. Does TGC, CBS, NBC et al not care about ratings? Something tells me Woods and Mickelson, (with Singh in the group as well) in the PLAYOFFS no less, could out draw the umteenth telecast of the big break that was on that day.
Bob Harig (2:13 PM)
Tom, this is a bigger issue than you and I can solve. Are you proposing that they show every shot of the tournament on Thursday and Friday? Who would pay for it? There are productions costs, advertising costs, etc. The Big Break is cheap. Televising a live sports event is not.. And there are those who argue that there is too much golf on TV. I can remember a time when all we saw was two hours on Saturday-Sunday. Nothing the first two days was televised.
Bob (Scottsdale, AZ)
What is your take on the Kenny Perry video clip from the FBR Open, yes or no, should he have been penalized?
Bob Harig (2:16 PM)
Bob, for those who don't know, a video of Kenny Perry surfaced well after the tournament was concluded in which it showed him placing his club behind the ball in the rough before a chip shot. From the angle, it appeared that he got a better lie -- I say appeared -- due to his grounding the club behind the ball.Should he have been penalized? No. This was not discovered until well after the fact, after the tournament had concluded. Even had it been brought up before he signed his scorecard, it is very hard to conclude that he improved his lie. You are allowed to ground the club behind the ball.Afterward, PGA Tour officials and playoff opponent Charley Hoffman cleared Perry of any wrongdoing.
Tom Watson (US Open)
OK so i proved us old farts can hang with the young kids every now and then. Do you realize I was unranked in the OWGR leading up to the British Open. Should senior tour events be part of the rankings? I mean the Hogan Tour (what's that, well no one told me it's not Ben's Tour anymore, he's going to be steamed) receives points and last time I checked no one from their tour led the British Open after 54 holes the past 2 years.
Bob Harig (2:18 PM)
Thanks for the levity.Seriously, I have a hard time believing the senior events should get world ranking points. The best players in the world are not eligible for these tournaments. Meanwhile, there is some back and forth on the Nationwide Tour, which does get a small amount of ranking pionts.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
I have this theorey that Tiger Woods was suspended last year and never had a broken leg. As evidence I submit to you that his last PGA Tour event was the 2008 Bay Hill. I suspect he tested positive at the WGC Match Play and wasn't suspended until after Bay Hill. I know he played the Masters and US Open but those weren't PGA events. Also he completely no showed his own event last year. I think this was a double secret suspension along the lines of Jordan being banned for a while in the NBA for gambling. Your thoughts?
Bob Harig (2:19 PM)
Brian, you have a vivid imagination.
Bob -- I know this is the Tiger Show, but how about the Shark's 66 today at Crooked Stick? As a neutral golf observer, he was heads and shoulders better from tee to green than anybody last week, but 36 putts on Sunday did him in. I don't know about you, but golf is always better when Norman is playing and playing well, even at this advanced age on the Champions Tour. Do you agree?
Bob Harig (2:20 PM)
Jared, there is no question it is great to have Norman playing. He always adds something. He's still extremely popular and competitive. I find it disappointing that he has chosen not to play more on the Champions Tour. He is a competitor. I know it's not the same as the old days, but you have to believe he enjoys this.
With the change in groves of clubs for next year what kind of change in scores should we expect?
Bob Harig (2:22 PM)
Jason, this is tough to answer at this point. Will there be a big difference in scoring? Probably not. Guys are going to learn to play differently. They're not going to get up and down from the rough as often or make as many birdies from the rough. So they'll compensate and try to hit more drives in the fairway. Maybe they have to play further back. Maybe that leads to less birdies?
Brandon (Eldricktown, FL)
So, in a field with a less number of major winners than Tiger's got majors, he's got to be in a 'Slump' if he can't even contend right? I mean really, Tiger can't even beat the likes of Scott Hebert or Andrew Ruthkoski (both besting Eldrick by 1 stroke right now...)??
Bob Harig (2:23 PM)
Brandon, last I checked, Tiger is only 5 holes into the first round. He's over par, but it's early.
Does Tiger consider this year a disappointment if he doesn't win the PGA?
Bob Harig (2:24 PM)
Matt, the easy answer is yes. Any year he doesn't win a major is going to be a disappointment. Since turning pro, it's happened only in '98, '03 and '04.
Carly (Denver, CO)
I had also heard that Tiger might have been suspended last year. I heard he tested positive for PEDs and due to the tour's policy that they don't announce fines and suspensions this never came out. Is that true they the tour doesn't announce fines and suspensions and if so doesn't that weaken the PED testing program?
Bob Harig (2:26 PM)
If a player tests positive for performance enhancing drugs, it will be announced. That is the tour's stance. They don't announce fines and suspensions for disciplinary matters that typcially fall under their "conduct unbecoming" provision. This is different. No point in having a testing program if you're not going to use it to deter.
James (Riverview, FL)
It was announced recently that the PGA Championship is going back to Valhalla in 2014. Is it just me or is that the most boring track in any major routa? What would you say is the most boring track in a major routa? I would say that for the PGA, Royal St. Georges for the British and Olympic for the US Open.
Bob Harig (2:27 PM)
James, I have to admit it's a big disappointing. There are so many courses better than Valhalla. It was a great Ryder Cup venue, and Tiger produced a great PGA in 2000. But it is not a classic course by any stretch.
Bob, why doesn't the Tour come up with incentives/threats to force the top guys into the field more frequently? I think the biggest problem with golf is the inconsitency, it's hard for casual fans to stay involved. I mean, in fantasy golf, there's no need to save anyone's starts because you have no idea when he'll show up or not.
Bob Harig (2:28 PM)
Mike, it's an age-old question. How to get guys to play more. One problem is there are too many events. If there were just 30 tournaments and Tiger played 20 of them, it wouldn't seem like he was missing so many. But there are more than 40. How do you force them to play? I guess you could have a rule requiring them to play 20 instead of 15 but who does the rule apply to? Top 100. Top 150?
With Phil coming back next week from missing more than a month, do you expect to see any drop in his level of play for the rest of the season?
Bob Harig (2:29 PM)
Jason, it's hard to say. We don't know if Phil has been working on his game over the last six weeks. Did he practice while he was away? Hit balls? Certainly he'll be a bit out of a competitive mindset, but that shouldn't take long to get back if he's been working on his gaem to any degree.
Watching the Sr. Open on ESPN and got to thinking. In Norman's prime, would he be the second best player in the world today? Meaning, better than Phil et al. that is chasing Tiger. Would he be Tiger's rival?
Bob Harig (2:32 PM)
JT, it would be fun to see how that played out. Norman was a terrific driver of the ball with persimmon woods. He was long and mostly straight.. . I guess it depends on if he has the same equipment today, his advantage is sort of taken away. But I have a feeling that if Greg Norman were 20 years younger, he'd be right there fighting with Tiger.
Craig G. (Fairfield, CA)
Hey Bob, I enjoy your columns and insight. As a No. California native, I used to always follow Aaron Olberholser. Do you know what he's up to nowadays?
Bob Harig (2:34 PM)
Craig, he's still trying to get back after a hand injury sidelined him for a good part of last year. He's played just three times this year on the PGA Tour and tried to play a Nationwide event last month and missed the cut.
RAY GORDON REID ( CANTON OH 447O8)
QUESTION TO BOB HARIG AT 2.40PM HI BOB WHOS YOUR PICK FOR PGA CHAMPIONSHIOP
Bob Harig (2:35 PM)
Ray, I have a hard time picking heads or tails. Seriously, I need to get closer to the tournament. I wouldn't have picked any of the majors winners to date, so it's not an easy decision.
Bigger future star: McIlroy, Imada, or Matteo Manassero?
Bob Harig (2:36 PM)
Matt, I'm going with McIlory, simply because at a young age he has already won on the European Tour.
Bob, enjoy your work. Recent reports show that the LPGA is collapsing. What is the best way to save it?
Bob Harig (2:37 PM)
Matt, there are a lot of issues. I'd start by taking a hard look at the schedule. Don't play majors the week prior to men's majors. Don't have so many gaps in the schedule. Fewer good tournaments is better than more weak tournaments. Go to smaller markets where they crave golf and appreciate your presence. Get all of your tournaments on TV.
Jon (LA, CA)
Do you think Bethpage deserves another chance to host a major soon? Perhaps the PGA championship can be played there which will reduce the possibility of rain?
Bob Harig (2:38 PM)
Jon, I'm not sure "soon" is required, but I have no problem with the PGA or USGA going back. The players love the course and the New York market.
I think Matt meant Ishikawa, not Imada.
Bob Harig (2:39 PM)
Marc, even so, I like McIlroy over Ishikawa -- who has already won a few times in Japan. McIlroy has established himself as a top 25 player to date.
Any chance Quail Hollow gets a Ryder Cup?
Bob Harig (2:40 PM)
Marc, that would be cool, but it would also have to be a long way off. Looks like the Ryder Cups in the U.S. have already been doled out through 2020. Medinah (2012), Hazeltine (2016), Whistling Straits (2020).
Jon (LA, CA)
Do you feel tiger is 100% back yet? I think he's still working out the kinks and it'll take at least another 6 months before he's comfortable with his leg.
Bob Harig (2:41 PM)
Jon, I think there might be something to that. He's done quite well considering what he went through, but you have to think there is still an adjustment period. And from what the experts say, the ACL needs a full two years.
President's Cup is coming up soon. Did Robin Williams and Michael Jordan ever confirm to Couple's request to be assistant captains?
Bob Harig (2:42 PM)
Matt, it's my understanding that Jordan will help in someway -- not as an assistant -- and that Williams is being summoned for entertainment purposes, although nothing official on that. Let's hope he does his golf routine for the fellas.
Since the USGA is rolling back grooves, how long will it be before they start looking at retro-fitting golf balls?
Bob Harig (2:44 PM)
I don't think they have any intention to roll back the golf ball. Their way of combatting the distance the ball travels is to change the grooves, which require you to hit the ball straighter, and perhaps shorter, to keep it in play.
marotto (from 50 yards out.)
Watson....WATSON!!Heartbreaking loss at the BO....I heard a rumour that he was going to play in the PGA Championship....Is this true, and if so, you expect him to make the cut??
Bob Harig (2:45 PM)
No word yet on the PGA Championship. He would need an invite. And I'm not sure he would take it. Watson is playing his third straight week. And Hazeltine is going to play long.
Jon (LA, CA)
If I'm Finchem, I'd institute an All-Star Break for golf where the best players show off their stuff with long drives, hole-in-one contests, chipping, etc. They could host it at some fluky course like Wolf Creek in Nevada that has huge drops in elevation. Your thoughts?
Bob Harig (2:46 PM)
Jon, the problem with your idea is that there is an extended offseason -- some call it the Silly Season -- in golf with all sorts of these type of events. I think during the "official" golf season, the fear is that players wouldn't participate.
Jer (Victoria, BC)
Hey Bob, Who was the British guy from the BBC that ABC had on during the Open Coverage? That cat was great - ESPN should sign him up!
Bob Harig (2:47 PM)
I believe you are referring to Peter Allis, who for years has been a big part of the BBC Open telecast in Britain. He has also helped out on ABC's part and since ESPN is taking over coverage of the Open next year, I'm guessing -- just guessing -- there will be a role for Allis as well.
BriGuy (Old Fort Bliss)
The question about MAJ got me wondering - is there a formal pga rule about smoking during an event? Could MAJ bust out one of his trademark stogies mid-round? What about chew?
Bob Harig (2:49 PM)
Don't think there is any rule against it. Daly smokes all the time. Jimenez has smoked cigars during rounds.
Do people really not know who Peter Aliss is?
Bob Harig (2:49 PM)
He's been a part of golf broadcasts for years. . .Played the European Tour, several GB
Do you see John Daly ever coming back to the elite status that he once had? He is by far one of the most beloved golfers by the fans and has had much support through his though times recently, but, can he still be a competitor in the PGA?
Bob Harig (2:50 PM)
Jamal, I'm not sure Daly ever had elite status. Yes, he won two majors, but neither year did he even make the U.S. Ryder Cup team. He's shown flashes, has great talent. But never been elite. Can he get some semblance of a career back? I think that would be possible.
Why would the U.S. want to be in MN and WI in September? Shouldn't they pick a warm weather place and not play into the Euro's hands?
Bob Harig (2:51 PM)
Who is to say the weather won't be nice in those places? So much goes into the decision. I'd personally love for them to take it to historic courses like Pebble Beach or Oakmont.
MAC (Aberdeen Prov Gnd)
Looks like tiger is struggling again maybe he really should consider his options.
Bob Harig (2:52 PM)
I'd give Tiger some time. He's 1 over through 7 holes.
Jon (LA, CA)
Who's your Player of the Year at the moment?
Bob Harig (2:53 PM)
Jon -- with a lot of time for things to change -- it has to be Tiger. He has more wins than any player, two top-10s in majors. If one of the major winners were to capture another event or depending on who wins the FedEx Cup or the PGA Championship, it all could change.
The Jiggla (stadacona center)
Just to add to what that guy was saying about Valhalla being boring.....i agree, that track is a goat ranch.
Bob Harig (2:54 PM)
I'm not sure I'd go that far. It's a nice course, two distinctly different nines, an interesting and exciting finishing hole. But it's not outstanding. And there are so many outstanding choices.
Tom (Simi Valley, CA)
I'm calling this the Year of Almost. We almost had Phil Mickelson making a Sunday charge at the Masters and almost had 48 yr old fan favorite Kenny Perry winning. We almost had Mickelson and reclamation project David Duval winning the U.S. Open. Watson at the British. Can't wait to see who "almost" wins the PGA. But the families of Cabrera, Glover, and Cink are happy, I'm sure.
Bob Harig (2:56 PM)
Tom, you have definitely seized on the theme of the year in the majors. No knock on any of the winners, but they were trumped by who didn't win in terms of the big story.
Right Arm, Bob!What was the worst/cheesiest headline you saw after the BO. The worst I saw was Stewart ?Cinks? Watson; Wins first Major Title
Bob Harig (2:59 PM)
Actually, it was "Stewart Stinks" in the London Sun.. Pretty lame. Cink is actually a great guy who deserves no abuse for doing his job.
john (cook street village)
Do you think Tiger will take next week off to get prepared for the WGC event?
Bob Harig (2:59 PM)
Next week is the WGC event, the Bridgestone, which he has won six times. He'll be there and then onto the PGA
Craig G. (Fairfield, CA)
Do you think the President's Cup in October in San Francisco would be a good event to attend?
Bob Harig (3:00 PM)
Sure. The Presidents Cup is fun. Not as intense as the Ryder Cup, but the same kind of event and close to the same format and lots of great players on both teams.
Bob Harig (3:01 PM)
Okay folks, I'm out of time. Thanks for all the great questions. I'll be checking in again next week from Firestone at the Bridgestone. Be well.