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 (1:58 PM)
It's playoff time. Yes, I know that sounds weird. Three years into the FedEx Cup playoffs, and it is still taking some time to get used to. But as I've written more than once, this series of four playoff events that began today outside of New York offers up something we would have never seen at this time of year -- the top players. So we've got plenty to talk about. Don't forget the Solheim Cup or any other golf topic. Please fire away with your questions.
Why should I take the "playoffs" seriously if none of the events are bigger than not only majors, but also WGCs, TPC and maybe even the Memorial, Bay Hill and Quail Hollow? I mean at best these events are the 9th biggest events on tour.
Bob Harig (2:00 PM)
Brian, that is the big hurdle the playoffs face. These tournaments are not bigger than the majors. They are probably not bigger than the Players Championship. I might argue with you about the World Golf events. The WGCs might have better fields, but they don't seem terribly important to me. They're just tournaments with better fields. Again, you have to accept the FedEx Cup for something better than what we used to have at the end of the season.
Gus (New City,NY)
Hi Bob, Loved last weeks tourney. I have a question though, is Ryan Moore sponsored by anyone? He has to be the only pro who doesn't have logo's all over his clothes. Thanks
Bob Harig (2:01 PM)
Gus, I don't believe Ryan Moore has any deals at the moment. That ought to change now, though.
Jason (Boston, MA)
I heard Brett Quigley called Hazeltine's greens the worst he's even seen on tour. With that in mind, and the recent announcement of Valhalla hosting a PGA in 2014, does the PGA need to reconsider some of their rota courses? It seems to me that if they are the red headed step child of the majors they can't afford to play on sub par courses. While Whistling Straits is great, this seems to be the exception rather than the norm. I would be scouting West Coasts courses (Prime Time TV) suchs as Bandon Dunes.
Bob Harig (2:03 PM)
Jason, there was some rumbling about the greens at Hazeltine and not everyone was in love with the layout, that is for sure. So much goes into these decisions, however. It's about logistics, too. Can they handle spectators, all the corporate hospitality, parking, media. Oh, and then is it a good test. I agree with the move to the West Coast. So many great venues, great temperatures, prime time TV, too.
Ryan Moore doesn't have any deals because he chose not to. He has had deals in the past. He's stated that he'd like to be able to play what he wants.
Bob Harig (2:04 PM)
Marc, I'm not sure I buy that completely. It might have been that he wasn't offered enough to get him to use something he was unsure about. Nothing wrong with that.
I hear the players aren't too excited about Liberty National. Couldn't they find a course the players actually like?
Bob Harig (2:05 PM)
Marc, if you read between the lines, it does appear some guys are none too thrilled. Tiger Woods' only reaction to the course was "interesting." When asked if that was a good thing, he said. "Interesting." Not a ringing endorsement. I guess the answer is that not everybody is going to like every course anyway. A lot of them didn't like Westchester where this tournament was played for 40 years.
Scott (Washington, DC)
It seems that the USGA has made Pebble Beach their signature site for US Opens. They had the 2000 and now the 2010 US Open. Is it just me or is this the most over-rated course they have. If this course were in Kansas it would cost about $14 to play. The views are great but the course itself is worse than Spyglass and Cypress. With this and Olympic in 2012 we have 2 blah courses in 3 years.
Bob Harig (2:08 PM)
Scott, I think it must be you! Seriously, $14? First of all, it couldn't be in Kansas. You're not going to get those views in Kansas. And those views help make the course. I know it has some inland holes that don't excite everyone, but it's hard to beat the run of 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. And remember, Cypress could never hold a U.S. Open. It's too short, no infrastructure, plus it's membership issues.
Does Christina Kim know the difference between enthusiasm and annoyance?
Bob Harig (2:09 PM)
Marc, apparently she doesn't. I personally didn't have a problem with her cheerleading, but many did. I've seen a lot written, gotten several emails on the subject. That suggests to me that maybe she went too far.
Give me 2 players who will thrive with the new groove rule next year and 2 who will see a drop off.
Bob Harig (2:11 PM)
Brian, that's tough for me to answer. It's complicated.But I believe Tiger will be helped by it. He prefers to play clubs that don't spin as much because he likes the "flyer" lies out of the rough to hit the ball farther. He also plays a golf ball that spins more than most, so he is used to playing a ball that others might switch to. . . But no doubt, it is going to be interesting to see the adjustments that will have to be made.
With Tiger commiting to play again next week, do you think he plays in all the playoff events this year?
Bob Harig (2:11 PM)
Josh, I don't think there is any doubt he will play all four. The big question was the first one.
Tom (Riverview, FL)
It has been 21 years since FL or TX has hosted a major, will we have to wait another 21 years to see one?
Bob Harig (2:13 PM)
Tom, I think it's been 22 years -- 1987 PGA Championship in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.I think it is unlikely that we will see a men's major played in Texas or Florida due to the heat and rain concerns. Although after all the rain we got this year in New York, it couldn't be worse.
Gus (New City, NY)
Saw where Tiger said that he's playing this week in order to help support the companies that sponsor PGA events. Do you think this will continue with him playing more tourneys next year? Will it be something that other players will follow? Thanks
Bob Harig (2:16 PM)
Gus, it's possible. If he plays all the playoff events, that will be 17 tournaments for Tiger in a year when he didn't play until the end of February. It's possible he plays more earlier next year. As for other guys adding tournaments. . . I really don't think we've seen them go out of their way in that regard. Guys have their favorites, like to set their schedule to try and help their games. And anybody who is playing 25 or more times can't be asked to do much more, really.
Scott (Washington, DC)
Cypress is too short? Pebble is 6828 yards, the only way to get it to play tough is to suck every ounce of water out of the small greens in the world, grow the rough to no end, and hope like hell the wind blows.
Bob Harig (2:20 PM)
Cypress Point is 6,500 yards . . . and like I said, it doesn't have the ability to host a tournament of the magnitude of the U.S. Open.And remember, in 2000, only one player broke par at Pebble. Tiger Woods. He shot 12 under. The next best score was 3 over. I think it help up pretty well and there were weather issues that week.
Hrair (Lexington, MA)
My buddy is a 2 handicap. We were enjoying some adult beverages last weekend after our round. He shot 67 on a par 71. He guaranteed that he could beat Adam Scott straight up right now. I told him there is no chance. The club pro we played with gave him a 8-1 chance. What would you say?
Bob Harig (2:21 PM)
I'd give it 80-1. As bad as Adam Scott is playing right now, he is always going to be far ahead of a 2-handicap player.
Thoughts on Liberty National? I would think the views of the Statue of Liberty and the NY skyline would at least make it one of the more unique courses around.
Bob Harig (2:23 PM)
Brian, I am not there so I don't know much about the course. But you're right, the views are pretty cool. It's neat to have a golf course that close to New York City.
Julie (Denver, CO)
I like the LPGA playoff system where they drop players after each round and have some crazy playoffs to survive each day. Also the race to Dubai seems to have more excitement than the Fed Ex Cup. Does the PGA Tour have the 3rd best playoff system?
Bob Harig (2:25 PM)
Julie, the LPGA's system is definitely unique, but it's just one tournament. The PGA Tour does not want to put its $10-million payout all on one event. The Race to Dubai is simply the money list and at the end the top 60 players get to play in the season-ending Dubai World Championship. Big purse, then a bonus pool for the top 15 in the final standings. It's pretty simple. As for the FedEx Cup, I think we need to give it a chance this year and see what happens in Atlanta. It is better than what they've had.
Early look-ahead for next year, but as a golfwriter, which major are you most looking forward to covering with the U.S. Open at Pebble and the Open Championship at St. Andrews?
Bob Harig (2:26 PM)
Josh, I'd have to go with St. Andrews, although having the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach is also neat. The Old Course, though, is really special because of its ties to the game and how that golf course actually sits right there in the town. Pretty cool.
Wouldn't the PGA want to put their best foot forward with the "playoffs" until it gets established by playing better well know courses that people are familiar with? This weeks choice along with some of the others in the past seem perplexing.
Bob Harig (2:28 PM)
Phil, you make a good point, but it's more complicated than that. The tour has contracts with these events -- Barclays, Deutsche Bank, BMW Championship and Tour Championship. Some of these venues were locked in. And there's nothing wrong with the venues, really. East Lake is well liked, so is Cog Hill.
Jay (Las Vegas)
Any chance we see Tom Watson pt II next year at Pebble. He's won there before and it being a short course should help him. I know he's not exempt for it yet but the USGA probably will give him one.
Bob Harig (2:28 PM)
Jay, that's a good question. The USGA could give him a special exemption and I don't think anyone would mind.
As popular as golf is in the New York area, with all the negative comments about the course this week, what are the chances we see the tournament back here next year?
Bob Harig (2:31 PM)
Josh, it's not going to Liberty National next year regardless. It is on a rotation basis going Ridgewood next year and Planefield in 2011.
Aren't they going away from Cog Hill though?
Bob Harig (2:32 PM)
Marc, they're back at Cog Hill this year, next year and 2011. In 2012 they are going to Indianapolis becuase the Ryder Cup will be at Medinah that year in Chicago.
Is the fact that Liberty National is not Tigers favorite course part of the reason he didn't play well today? He typically plays his best on courses he likes.
Bob Harig (2:33 PM)
Phil, I don't think Tiger saw Liberty National before yesterday's pro-am. .. .
What happened to David Duval's comeback. He missed the Fed Ex and really hasn't done much since the US Open
Bob Harig (2:34 PM)
Bob, Duval's U.S. Open is looking and more and more like a fluke. He has made just one cut since. It would have been nice to see him back that up with more good play but it hasn't happened. And now he won't be able to play again until the Fall Series.
Just curious, how much it would cost to play in a pro-am with Tiger or Phil?
Bob Harig (2:35 PM)
It wouldn't cost any more to play with Tiger or Phil than anyone else in the pro-am of a PGA Tour event. Those prices are set by the event and range from $4,000 to $12,000 depending on the tournament and the circumstances.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
With golf possibly being an Olympic Event how would you like to see it played? Also if Chicago wins the 2016 games where do you think they'd have it. Please don't say Olympia Fields, please...
Bob Harig (2:38 PM)
Brian, I would prefer to see anything other than pure stroke play -- as has been proposed. Perhaps they could have three-man teams with medal-match play, allowing for their to be an individual and team medals awarded. But to just have 72-hole stroke play? That's like any other tournament.
Hrair (Lexington, WI)
Adam Scott just went out in 40, i think my buddy the 2 handicapper could have bested that.
Bob Harig (2:40 PM)
Maybe. But playing against Adam Scott on a tour-caliber course under the conditions they play? Or how about if Adam Scott went to your buddy's course. Do you think he'd shoot 40?
How did they decide who you get grouped with in a Pro-Am then?
Bob Harig (2:41 PM)
Tom, there is usually some sort of a draw. Amateur groups get to pick who they play with. Sometimes the sponsor has the first pick. It varies.
Phil (Madison, WI)
What do you think was the best tournament Tiger has played and lost?
Bob Harig (2:43 PM)
Phil, I'm going to go with the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst. He finished two strokes behind Michael Campbell despite being near the bottom in putting for the players who made the cut. He nearly won with a horrible putting week. He hit it great. That was an amazing year for Tiger, as he won the Masters and British Open, was second at the U.S. Open and tied for fourth at the PGA.
Melissa (Orono, ME)
Why does Barack Obama have 18 clubs in his bag? Is it good to see the President of the US openly cheating. Also why does he have a right handed driver?
Bob Harig (2:44 PM)
Melissa, I wouldn't call it cheating. Many players carry more than 14 clubs during casual rounds of golf, even Arnold Palmer -- who often has 25. Unless he's playing on competition where the club limit is in effect, it's no big deal. Don't know the anser about the right-handed driver.
What seems to be the problem with Adam Scott?
Bob Harig (2:44 PM)
Everything. His swing, his putting, his mental side. He's lost right now and admits it.
Jason (Christmas, IN)
44 years old, over under on when Tiger retires. I say under.
Bob Harig (2:45 PM)
Jason, I really think it depends on his desire and his level of competitiveness. If he's got something to strive for, saying winning a 20th major or a 100th PGA Tour event (if he's not to those levels already) and he still plays like Vijay Singh has in his 40s, I see no reason why he wouldn't keep going.
Over/Under: 1 major win for Tiger next year.
Bob Harig (2:47 PM)
Brian: I'm taking the over on that.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
Tim Finchem tried to get on the players this year to play more to help the sponsors. Now Detroit and MI will not have an event for the first time in about 50 years. What has he done to hold up his end of the bargain and ensure that sites that are struggling will still have events.
Bob Harig (2:47 PM)
There is only so much he can do. Does Finchem cut deals and undermine the existing contracts he already has in place?
Has the PGA ever thought about going back to Sahalee? I was at the PGA Championship when Vijay won and it seemed like a very good course. It was a nice area, just outside Seattle, and there seemed to be a lot of room for spectators.
Bob Harig (2:51 PM)
I'm not sure if they have considered it, but they should just to get big-time golf back out there.
Over/Under: 2 major wins for Tiger next year. For the purposes of this question lets say you cant pick push.
Bob Harig (2:51 PM)
In that case I'll go under because I'm not going to say he'll win 3.
Patrick (Hanover PA)
I heard an interesting comparison over the weekend and wanted to get your opinion of it. It was between Paula Creamer and Phil MIckelson, talking about how this person can see her career as very similar to Phil's, winning alot of tournaments but maybe struggling in the majors. She will proboably get a few but maybe not as many as she should. Obviously Paula is only 23 but your thoughts.
Bob Harig (2:54 PM)
Patrick, Creamer has a long way to go, as you noted. But I'm surprised she hasn't won a major yet. And the longer it goes, the harder it gets, alhtough Phil proved that patience is really important.
Feddie has to pick Glover and Mahan for the Presidents Cup team right?
Bob Harig (2:55 PM)
I would bet right now that those will be his picks.
In 40 years, do you see an older Tiger Woods graciously going to Bristol for interviews, questions, commercials without being annoyed by others actually wanting to be in his presence?
Bob Harig (2:55 PM)
Pete, to be honest, I don't see that happening. Very few people are like Arnie that way.
The Olympics should be a 4-man scramble, then some sort of match play for individual medals. I know it won't happen like that, but it would be fun to see what kind of scores a scramble would yield.
Bob Harig (2:56 PM)
Jay, I don't think we'll see 4 players per team. I think to have an individual and team competition it has to somehow be contested at the same time, hence the individual stroke play matches with scores counting for an individual medal.
44 years old seems way low to me. You have to figure, as long as he is physically able, Tiger will atleast be playing a few of the majors each year well past his 50th birthday right?
Bob Harig (2:57 PM)
Very hard to say. I really don't think Tiger will be out there if he doesn't feel he is at his best. Maybe time will mellow those thoughts.
Skinhead (Clifton forge,VA)
Has Tiger Woods realized yet that he is not the player he use to be. Its nice to see the human side of tiger woods.
Bob Harig (2:58 PM)
I have a hard time agreeing that Tiger isn't the player he used to be. His record over the past several seasons is amazing. And while he didn't win a major this year, he's managed to win six over the the past five years. No active player has more than three -- total.
Bob Harig (3:00 PM)
I'm out of time. Thanks for all the great questions and check in again next week when the playoffs move on to Boston.