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 during this rare off week on the PGA Tour. We've had 37 straight weeks of PGA Tour golf and now there is a break before next week's Tour Championship. Golf is still being played on other tours, however, and any golf topic is fair game. I'm here as long as you've got questions. Fire away.
Bob - not sure if you have any say regarding actual TV coverage and camera shots, etc., but if so, try to push for some still camera (no zooming or moving) wide screen footage of full pitch shots, sand shots, whatever. With new plasma TV's we don't need constant zooming in and out, but would really enjoy some footage where you can get a feel for trajectory, spin, etc., plus at the same time you can see the player's reaction during the entire shot. Come on! Have 'em try it during this off-season and test it on the smaller tourneys or ladies events!!! Thanks - Matt
Bob Harig (2:01 PM)
Matt, your first inclination is correct. I have no say and no sway. But you make some good points. As a golf TV viewer myself, your comments seem to have some merit. I would suggest writing to the golf TV folks at ESPN, CBS, NBC and Golf Channel. It can't hurt.
I guess you're not taking the weekend off like everyone else on tour-nice to see somebody is working-just kidding. What do you attribute to Bubba Watson's unique style of play? Does he ever hit the ball straight? I always enjoy watching him craft shots out on the course-just curious about how his game developed.
Bob Harig (2:03 PM)
Rajesh, Bubba's uniqueness stems soley from his ability to hit the long ball. It will always fascinate us. Even Tiger Woods -- who plays a few practice rounds with Bubba -- is amazed at the length of his tee shots. He generates a lot of power, takes it well past parallel, and lets it go. Of course, Bubba has not won on the PGA Tour -- and didn't win on the Nationwide Tour. That suggests his game still has a ways to go.
Ethan (County Ct.)
David Duval is currently 116th on the money list with an 82K lead over the 126th ranked player. Do you expect him to be able to be exempt if he does not cash in another tournament this season?
Bob Harig (2:07 PM)
Ethan, the guess here is no. Duval is going to have some work to do because 116th is not safe. After next week's Tour Championship, there are five official events left on the schedule that are spread out into November: Turning Stone, Justin Timberlake in Las Vegas, Frys.com, Viking Classic and Disney. They are offering purses between $3.6-million and $6-million and lots of guys will be competing to keep their card for 2010. Duval should not feel secure. The good news for him, though, is that one decent finish -- say a top-20 -- ought to get him by.
Hi Bob, did you agree with Fred Couples two captain picks for the Presidents Cup?
Bob Harig (2:09 PM)
Justin, I didn't have a problem with the picks. Lucas Glover won the U.S. Open and Hunter Mahan played on the last Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams. Scott Verplank made a late push, but my feeling is it's better to give your picks to younger guys who might be on these teams for awhile. Brian Gay, who won twice, deserved to be considered, too, but it's argue to argue with who Couples chose.
Do you think Tiger wants to come out next week and again prove to everyone that last week was no fluke?
Bob Harig (2:11 PM)
Bill, I don't think he has anything to worry about regarding a possible perception of his victory being a fluke. In his last six tournaments, he's won three times, finished second twice and had a tie for 11th. That's pretty good. And he won by eight. That's no fluke, either. . . I'm guessing Tiger wants to win next week simply because he's playing in a tournament and he wants to win, period.
How weird is it that there's no golf this weekend?
Bob Harig (2:12 PM)
Henry, it is definitely weird, but understandable. You would never get all the big names to commit to all the playoff events if you didn't have a week off. In fact, I would be in favor of an occasional off week two or three times during the year. A forced off week would be better for the tournament surrounding it and might heighten demand when the tour comes back. You can argue that there are too many tournaments, certainly.
Would you rather: hit a hole-in-one on a sweepstakes hole and win $1 million, or hit a 40 ft birdie putt to win a PGA Tour Event and $500,000?
Bob Harig (2:13 PM)
Pete, since I have absolutely no chance at the latter, I'd have to go with the former. Even I could get luck in a hole in one contest, but I'll never be in a PGA Tour event.
Any nominees for most disappointing season? Sergio? Poulter?
Bob Harig (2:14 PM)
Justin, those are two good ones right there. Neither won anywhere around the world. Poulter is highly regarded and hasn't won in forever. Sergio was coming off a big year and didn't back up. I'd add two others: Anthony Kim and Camillo Villegas. Neither made the Tour Championship.
Bob, do you think that the variety of nationalities on the Int'l teams in the President's Cup have contributed to their relatively poor record despite high talent levels? This year's team has several players as their country's lone rep including a few (Cabrera/Yang) who speak little English. Was K.J. Choi given consideration over Ishikawa and Scott? - he and Yang seem like an obvious, and worthy, pairing.
Bob Harig (2:17 PM)
Mike, I think you are on to something, but to me it has to do with the fact that they are not really letting anyone down or getting criticized if they lose. The big reason the Ryder Cup is such a big deal is that in Europe, especially the UK. the matches are scrutinized like every play and call of a football game is over here. They critique the players and the captain relentlessly. We do it less over here, but there is still pressure on American players to perform. In the Presidents Cup, I don't think Ernie Els is getting grief back in South Africa if he doesn't have success.As for your question about Yang, I thought Choi might get some consideration just for the reasons you suggested. Cabrera is not as big of an issue as he knows more English than he lets on and has been dealing with the languarge barrier for more than 10 years.
Marc (Big D)
Anyone else notice Tiger beat YE Yang by 32 strokes last weekend? I know it wasn't a major but still.
Bob Harig (2:18 PM)
Marc, it will be interesting to see how Yang fares over the next year or so. Was that a one-time deal (I know he also beat him in Chinca a few years ago) or does he do it again? It sort of points out how tough it is for Tiger. He gets challengers by committee.
Tomwit NJ [via mobile]
I think Lee Trevino said that pressure was playing for 20 bucks a hole with 5 bucks in ynur pocket as opposed to sinking a putt to win a major. Who is the best pressure golfer out there? Ever?
Bob Harig (2:20 PM)
There's no doubt it is pressure to play for money you don't have. But major championship pressure is probably every bit as fearsome. You've got everybody watching, your future in your hands on top of the money. Best pressure player ever? I'd put Bob Jones up there. He was absolutely expected to win every time he played. Jack Nicklaus, certainly. Time and again he got it done. Trevino deserves mention. And Tiger. We take what he does for granted.
With all the hype I can see the Kim pick also but I think he did have some injury issues. Villegas just makes me think he was a flash in the pan. Maybe not fair, just a feeling I get.
Bob Harig (2:21 PM)
Justin, I'll give you the Kim injuries, some of which were self-inflicted and perhaps brought on by not being committed to his craft. Villegas showed some flair at the end of last year, winning the BMW and Tour Championship against great fields, so I thought that suggested more than a fluke. Neither player backed it up this year.
I assume you have Eldrick winning the Fed-Ex Cup?
Bob Harig (2:31 PM)
Justin, he's not a lock. Not this year. He could have a great touranment and finish second to Jim Furyk -- who hasnt' won all year. But if Furyk wins the Tour Championship, he wins the FedEx Cup. Anyone in the top five -- Tiger, Steve Stricker, Furyk, Zach Johnson or Heath Slocum -- wins the Cup with a victory. Anyone from 6 to 10 has a great chance with a victory, depending on the finishes of Tiger and Stricker. It's set up so that The Tour Championship becomes more of a shootout.
Who do you think is the best up and coming golfer out there?
Bob Harig (2:33 PM)
Steve, it is very hard to say. Last year I thought it was Anthony Kim and he didnt' really follow up this year. Nick Watney had a really nice year this year and I think he can continue. But at what level do you judge it? I think a player needs to win consistently, a few times a year at least. That's not easy.
Why did Andy North call Tiger's short game "the dankiest part of his game?" Is dankiest a compliment or a putdown?
Bob Harig (2:40 PM)
Pat, I didn't hear the comments, and I really don't have the answer! It's hard to imagine Andy North putting down Tiger's short game, so I am going to guess he was giving him a compliment.
Bob, how can I (not rich or famous) get tickets to see The Masters?
Bob Harig (2:41 PM)
Matt, the best way is to enter the lottery for practice round tickets. It's too late for 2010 but you can go on the Masters website (Masters.com) and there is an application for practice round tickets for the following year. That is the best way. Regular tournament badges are only available to those folks who have been purchasing them for years. The waiting list is lengthy and few if any move up every year. Short of that you need to know somebody or buy them from a ticket broker, which many do with success but which I would not do without meticulous investigation.
This won't ever fly, but what if the FedEx Cup consisted of a 4 location, tournament with cuts after the 3rd and 4th rounds. So, start out with 125, cut the bottom 20 after the second and third for the first two sites. So, NY goes from 125 to 85 at the end, BOS starts with 85 and ends with 45.In Chicago, you start with 45, but cut the bottom 10 after rounds 3 and 4 so 25 go to Atlanta. For the Tour Championship, you cut an additional 5 players so the top 10 play the final round. I'd go with best score in the final round gets the $10 million prize.
Bob Harig (2:46 PM)
Bob, there have been many suggestions such as this that would spruce up the FedEx Cup. . . Why not play the Tour Championship as is and then take the top 12 in the points afterward and let them play one round for $10-million? Low score wins. 2-12 payouts based on finish. It would still mean a good Tour Championship but there would be that extra day of drama. That's just one idea. . . But the Tour seems set on keeping the FedEx Cup within the 72-hole structure. And this year it is working out better than the previous two.
Bob, is there a chance of a major championship coming to Ohio?
Bob Harig (2:51 PM)
It doesn't seem to be in the immediate plans. Inverness in Toledo has hosted U.S. Opens and the PGA Championship but you don't hear it mentioned. Canterbury just had the Senior PGA.
Bob Harig (2:55 PM)
I'm out of time and questions. A slow week in golf, obviously. Thanks to those of you who participated. Check in again next week when we'll be at the Tour Championship. Thanks.