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 (1:59 PM)
Hello, thanks for joining this chat from Harding Park Golf Course, site of the Presidents Cup. The first match will be getting under way in about an hour. The weather is cool, but no rain in the forecast. We've got 13 of the top 25 players in the world including the top 3. I'll be here for the next 30 minutes or so. Fire away with your quetions.
Don't you like the format of the President's Cup Matches much better than the Ryder Cup. In the President's Cup you get an extra day of golf, a total of 6 more matches and everyone has to play the first two days. I love it. Any thought of the Ryder Cup switching its format?
Bob Harig (2:01 PM)
Dan, you bring up some good points. The Presidents Cup has some differences that make it unique. I like four days rather than three because it spreads things out a bit. I like that everyone has to play each day. Will the Ryder Cup change? Not sure. They are into tradition, but the Ryder Cup's format has changed many times over the years. People don't realize that back in the day, they had two singles sessions on Sunday. So it can happen. Maybe it's better if they remain different.
What is up with Foursomes? I NEVER see anyone outside of the Ryder and President's Cups playing this format. 4ball is played all the time, as it singles match play. Why not have 2 sessions of fourball each day or something else. I certainly don't want a scramble but maybe a bramble?
Bob Harig (2:03 PM)
Believe it or not, foursomes is still played at some places in the UK at certain days and times. It's a fun way to play, and it's fast way to play. Obviously there are 4 players but just two balls in play at the same time. I doubt they will dump it from the format. It is unique and it is really the only true form of team golf. I realize that best-ball is the team format, but you are still playing your own ball.
I am so dissapointed that they got rid of the sudden death if the matches were tied. Tiger vs Ernie was great theatre. Should they bring it back, and if they did, who would be the Internationals pick to go up against Tiger?
Bob Harig (2:04 PM)
Brian, I think they felt it was strange to have one player on each side decide the thing for everyone. Perhaps there is a better sudden-death format. Then again, there is nothing wrong with a tie, either.
Scott (Phoenix, AZ)
I know nothing about the President's Cup - are the rules the same as the Ryder Cup? Will anyone use gamesmanship to give themselves an advantage?
Bob Harig (2:06 PM)
Scott, the rules are very similar, but instead of 28 matches as there are at the Ryder Cup -- eight foursomes, eight four-balls and 12 singles -- there are 34 matches at the Presidents Cup -- 11 foursomes, 11 four-balls and 12 singles.Also, this is spread out of four days instead of three.But just like the Ryder Cup, it is match play.
Any word on the leading contenders to host golf in Rio 2016 if it becomes an Olympic event?
Bob Harig (2:07 PM)
Brian, my understanding is that Rio has just a handful of golf courses, and it is questionable whether any of them are worthy. If golf gets in the Games -- and it will be announced tomorrow -- look for them to build a championship course.
Chris A. (Houston)
I was looking at your column earlier, and noticed the US players have much better records in 4-somes than 4-ball. Can you explain what these formats are and why the US has so much more success in 4-somes?
Bob Harig (2:09 PM)
Chris, foursomes is alternate shot. One player hits a tee shot on all the odd-numbered holes, with the other hitting them on the even-numbered holes. After player A hits a drive, player B hits the second shot and then Player A hits the third until the ball is holed. The other team does the same thing and the lowest score wins the hole.In four-ball -- or best ball -- each player plays their own ball and the lowest score on the hole counts for the team.The International team has been terrible at foursomes for some reason, and there is no good explanation -- because the Americans had struggled with the format at the Ryder Cup.
Phil and Vijay have been in everyone of these "tournaments." Who misses one first?
Bob Harig (2:10 PM)
Brian, given that Vijay is 6 years older than Phil, I would guess that he'll be the first one to bow out. I can see Phil being part of this for several years.
weather is cold and foggy - does this favor 1 team?
Bob Harig (2:11 PM)
Not sure it will have much bearing, really. The weather is actually quite nice for golf. Not too windy.
Mike (San Francisco)
Can you foresee a Sunday matchup of Tiger versus Y.E. Yang? I'm sure we're all salivating over that potential matchup.
Bob Harig (2:13 PM)
Mike, because the captain's match pairings, it is quite possible that Tiger could get Yang in the singles.
Greg (McLean, VA)
Any livestreaming of the tournament online, or are we stuck with Sobel's blog?
Bob Harig (2:13 PM)
Stuck? Surely you jest.
Do you think there is a chance we see Tiger and Phil paired together at all this week?
Bob Harig (2:14 PM)
Michah, that didn't work too well at the 2004 Ryder Cup, and my guess is we'll never see it again.
Don't you feel like its was a bad move by norman to put clark and wier against phil and kim cause he should have know thats were couples was putting them, I feel like phil and kim will dominate that matchup!
Bob Harig (2:15 PM)
Norman went first and put Weir and Clark in that spot. It was then Couples who matched up Mickelson and Kim against them. . That is part of the beauty of the Presidents Cup is how the captains can match up against each other. If Norman wanted that pairing, he was going to have to put them somewhere.
Couldn't help but notice that the NFL schedule this Sunday is dreadful, which should mean a higher TV audience for The Presidents Cup, provided the matches are competitive.
Bob Harig (2:16 PM)
Matt, folks are going to watch the NFL no matter who is playing. That's just part of the deal. The Presidents Cup, with Phil and Tiger, were do just fine. It won't come close to matching the NFL, but it will have excellent ratings for golf and espeically overseass.
If golf is added to the Olympics, do you see any other tournaments being added that are Olypmics-esque, where it's players playing for their country, and not US vs Europe or US vs the world?
Bob Harig (2:19 PM)
Pete, I really don't. The schedule is jam packed as it is. We have a Ryder Cup every two years. There is a World Cup every year. The game is an individual game above all.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
Do, you see any career effects good/bad of any players coming about in the forseeable future with the grove changes beeing made to clubs.
Bob Harig (2:20 PM)
Blake, I think there will be some fallout, certainly. It's going to be an adjustment. With the new grooves, the ball will not have as much spin and high-caliber players will have to account for it, whether it's balls hit from the fairway or the rough. It will be interesting.
Do the Captains alternate their pairings? So after Norman put out Weir and Clark, was it then Couples turn to first throw out his twosome for the 2nd group?
Bob Harig (2:21 PM)
John, that is correct. . They will do it again today after play is finished for tomorrow, and I'm pretty sure you can catch it live on Golf Channel. It's a pretty cool aspect of the Presidents Cup.
Any Chance that TIGER and KIM play against Y.E. YANG and RYO? It would be cool to see TIGER get a rematch against YANG, then the two young studs battle each other?
Bob Harig (2:22 PM)
Tank, I could see Tiger and Kim being paired, but don't really think Ishikawa and Yang will be paired. Just my gut feeling.
Blake (Abilene, TX)
Is, it a mistake that the format for golf in the olympics is not more country and team oriented? From what I understand Olympic qualifying is based on world rankings and not individual countries sending their best players.
Bob Harig (2:25 PM)
Blake, the way it is set up, the top 15 in the world would get in automatically, regardless of country. Then from there it would be based on the world ranking but a cap of two per country. There is some hope that they will revist this. Nothing is official yet.
Craig G. (Fairfield, California)
Hey Bob, I'm enjoying the great coverage of the President's Cup by the local media here in the Bay Area. Can you compare its importance/relevance to another pro sports event?
Bob Harig (2:27 PM)
If you step back from it, the Presidents Cup probably does not rate very high compared to other pro sports events, especially with the NFL, college football and the baseball playoffs going on at the same time. Even in golf, it trails the four majors, the Players and probably even the FedEx Cup playoff events. But it's still a great event, getting more and more popular. That fact that all of the top players who are eligible support it says something.
Bob, Gotta say that I love the Presidents Cup format ALOT better then the Ryder Cup. Esp when everyone has to play. Why does the Ryder Cup have the rule that not everyone has to play the first two days? I feel everyone deserves the right to play
Bob Harig (2:29 PM)
Brad, that's just how it is, I guess. The Ryder Cup format allows you to "hide" players. Because only eight can play in each session, somebody is going to sit out in the morning or afternoon or both. Here everyone plays, and I think that's a good thing.
Any thoughts on why the International Team hasn't fared well over the past several President's Cups?
Bob Harig (2:30 PM)
John, I wrote about this today on ESPN.oom. I have one big theory: the internationals face no fallout if they lose. To them, it's a nice competition and they try, but they don't really ahve to fret about the outcome. The Americans -- hammered for so long about the Ryder Cup -- enjoy the looser atmopshere and play better. Add it up and the Americans have thrived. Not sure if that makes sense, but that's how it has gone down.
Is Steve Stricker, even though getting up there in age, starting to gain enough confidence in closing out tournaments to finally win a major?
Bob Harig (2:32 PM)
That would be the next step, and age won't be a factor. Perhaps experience will help him get over if he has a chance coming down the stretch.
Bob Harig (2:32 PM)
Okay folks, I'm out of time. Thanks for participating and enjoy the Presidents Cup.