Chat with Bob Harig
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com golf writer Bob Harig will stop by to talk about the 2010 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 Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Bob Harig (3:59 PM)
Hello, time again for some golf talk. Tiger Woods is back in action this week at the AT&T National, being played outside of Philadelphia. Another major is just two weeks away. Any golf topic is fair game, so fire way.
Do you think Tiger wins the at and t national tournament since that was his tournament and dc gets it back in 2012 right since congressional has the us open next year i think
Bob Harig (4:01 PM)
I am not sure if Tiger is going to win this week. Nothing would surprise me either way. He has that kind of ability and it's remarkable that he has top five finishes at both majors. The fact that this is a new course, however, makes judging him this week quite difficult. It will be interesting to see where his game is at this point.
If you are a member of the PGA tour do you automatically qualify for the senior tour? I noticed Bill Glasson's name in a senior tour event recently and he hasn't been a member of the PGA tour for a few years.
Bob Harig (4:04 PM)
The main criteria for getting onto the Champions Tour is career money earned on the regular tour. That is how the tour gears itself toward those who had successful regular tour careers. The top 30 from the previous year's money list along with the top 30 all-time money winners (not including the top 30 from the previous year's money list) are automatically exempt. That is why anyone who earned a nice sum on the regular tour can walk right out there. In Glasson's case, his career money doesn't make him exempt, but because he is a former PGA Tour winner, he has limited status.
Beard (Little Rock, AR)
Now that firm and fast conditions are here, are the players starting to really see (and talk about) a difference with the grooves?
Bob Harig (4:06 PM)
It gets less discussion than I would have thought, but I don't think there is any doubt it had an effect at Pebble Beach. Guys just could not hold shots and the new grooves had to play a role.
Some of your ESPN golf peers (Macguire, Sobel) both said Tiger is close to victory. I think he might be closer to winning that to finding his A game (as he is one of the few who can win with his B game). I think he's not a contender at any course (unlike Pebble) where his poor driving will be exposed. He didn't have to use the Big Dog at Pebble and that helped him a ton. Why should I expect him to start hitting it straight with the driver when he hasn't in several years?
Bob Harig (4:08 PM)
There is no question that poor driving has not helped Tiger, but I believe that is more because the other parts of his game are not up to his usual levels. He's not putting very consistently and he's had some inconsistent iron play. In the last five years, Tiger's driving accuracy has not been the greatest, and yet look at all the tournaments he's won. He either drives it just well enough or is able to overcome it better than anyone.
Jim (NY, NY)
There's a holiday Friday this week where many people are off or getting out of work early yet they have Tiger in the AM wave and done with his round before tv coverage starts. They did the same thing a few years ago at Deutsche Bank where Phil and Tiger were paired together for a 2nd rd. on a Saturday and they had them play in the morning. Is the PGA Tour asleep at the wheel?
Bob Harig (4:11 PM)
Jim, the dynamics of tee times at a PGA Tour event is supposed to be random. In other words, they might put the name players in the TV windows, but they don't do so by the day. I'm not sure if they should manipulate more than that because this is a holiday weekend, but I certainly see your point.
Ed (Long Island)
How long is Tiger going to use the excuse that the amount of rounds he has played is equivalent to March? He has had the opportunity to play more tournament but HE elects to pass on them - example last week. If he thinks he needs more rounds, enter more tournaments, but stop using that as an excuse.
Bob Harig (4:12 PM)
Ed, this is a fair point. Tiger is playing in only his sixth tournament and has said often that he's simply way behind in tournament rounds. If we give him a break for the neck injury, he still could have added a tournament or two to get the at-bats he talks about. But so far, Tiger is not deviating from his schedule at all, simply resuming it later.
Bob--are you in the Philadelphia area to cover the AT&T tournament this week...if so, what are your thoughts on the Aronimink course (my home club) and whom do you like as the favorite to win...thanks for your comments.
Bob Harig (4:14 PM)
I am not there, but have heard nothing but good things about Aronimink. It is amazing to think that Philadephia doesn't have a regular tour stop, nor does the state of Pennsylvania. How about Sean O'Hair? He's got a home-course advantage.
Graeme Mcdowell (Wish I knew)
I still have quite the hangover could you let me know if I'm entered in any tournaments this weekend?
Bob Harig (4:14 PM)
Apparently it will be another week before McDowell tees it up again. The Scottish Open, apparently, is the next event for the U.S. Open champion.
Bob, who is the frontrunner for PGA Tour POY right now? Seems like it has to be between Els, Furyk, and Mickelson at this point, right? Do you give the edge to a multiple winner, or do Lefty's results in the majors speak louder?
Bob Harig (4:15 PM)
I would say it is wide open. Certainly those three guys are at the top, and I think you can make an argument for Mickelson because he won a major and contended in the other one. Els has two wins and also contended at the U.S. Open. I would put them ahead of Furyk. But there's two majors and the playoffs to go. A lot can happen.
Tiger Woods got a rediculous amount of coverage when he turned pro but at least he had a history of winning and dominating amateur tournaments which has continued into the pros. Michelle Wie never really won much of anything but still had a lot of fanfare which has continued(all becuase she played against men). After another subpar performance last week, so far is she the biggest BUST of all time based on amount of attention and unearned endorsement dollars?
Bob Harig (4:18 PM)
I believe it is way too early to proclaim Wie a bust. She's been around forever but is still just 20 years old. She offers a great lesson in why patience is very important in golf. Look at Cristie Kerr, who just won the LPGA title. She is 32 but has been a pro for more than 15 years. Sometimes it takes time.
Pam (West Palm Beach)
What are you hearing about the Vibe at the AT&T today? Was the pro-am well attended by the crowds?
Bob Harig (4:19 PM)
I am not at the tournament but all indications are it is being well received. Philly is a golf hotbed that has been without a tour event since 2002.
I noticed Keith Clearwater's name at a senior tour even a few weeks ago. I believe he was rookie of the year in 1987 and I believe lead a US Open for awhile. I always though he was going to be a big star. What happened to him?
Bob Harig (4:20 PM)
Clearwater won two tournaments in 1987 and that was it. He hung around for a long time, just never won again -- which is a story for many.
Lou (East Liverpool, OH)
Haven't seen any columns about Ernie Els refusing to speak after the US Open. For a guy that had some very strong words about Tiger's supposed selfishness earlier this year seems likes he's getting a pass for failing to meet his obligation to the golfing world. I would've like to have heard from him after his disappointing Sunday at Pebble.
Bob Harig (4:24 PM)
It was noted after his round that he did not speak following play, and you're right, he probably is getting a pass. It was unfortunate, but in the heat of the moment, you could see why he wouldn't want to talk. I am not sure he is obligated to do so, but it is unfortunate he didn't. I guess in the end, Els got a pass because he's often been so good in such situations.
Shaun (St. Cloud)
Does the fact that Anthony Kim has only dropped one spot in the Ryder Cup standings since his surgery speak more to how well AK was actually playing, or to the lack of consistency from American golfers right now?
Bob Harig (4:26 PM)
I would say it is more the latter. Since Kim's last tournament at Quail Hollow, only two Americans -- Zach Johnson and Bubba Watson -- have won on the PGA Tour. Certainly Kim played well to put himself so high on the list.
Ricky Barnes (Philly)
What are my chances this week? I've been pretty hot lately.
Bob Harig (4:29 PM)
Not knowing if the course suits him, you have to like Ricky Barnes simply because he's been playing well. He has three top-10s in his last four events and a tie for 27th at the U.S. Open. And he played well earlier this week at the CVS Charity Classic.
To respond to my Michelle Wie question: You use the Christie Kerr example and that is true but Christie Kerr wasn't expected to be the greatest of all time, the female Tiger Woods and to save woman's golf. You can't use the she's only 20 when she doesn't perform becuase you know if she has 5 majors right now it would be isn't this incredible that she is only 20 and doing all of this.
Bob Harig (4:34 PM)
There's no doubt that she had a ton of hype more than anyone, including Kerr. But the fact is she's still only 20 and not even playing full time. I think we can second-guess her career path to this point and say she'd have been better off playing against her peers and winning and learning how to win and what it's like to be the favorite every week. She really has not learned how to win.
Frank (New Brunswick, NJ)
Could you give an estimate of how many of the top say 100 players in the world would sit down with a reporter and have a beer at the hotel bar? Does that number get much smaller the closer to the top you get?
Bob Harig (4:35 PM)
My guess is there might be 20 in the top 100 who would do that, and the number definitely gets smaller the closer you get to the top.
When is the next tournament for Dustin Johnson? Will he have any bad mojo after sunday at Pebble?
Bob Harig (4:36 PM)
Johnson is playing this week at the AT&T and he seems to be doing a good job of putting the final round behind him. At least he is saying all the right things.
will phil win the fedex cup this year
Bob Harig (4:38 PM)
Not sure if he will, but he certainly has an excellent change. He's in second place behind Ernie Els, there are two majors and a WGC event left before the players which will offer more points. Then anything can happen once the playoff events start. And Phil did win last year in Atlanta, where the Tour Championship is played.
Jim (NY, NY)
You mentioned some spotty iron play from Tiger before- I think going back to even last year Tiger has been struggling to get as close to the hole as he needs to on his short iron approaches. I recall the weekend of the PGA last year him failing to really stick any of those wedges into the par 5's he laid up on. Won't that really be tested this week at the realitively short Aronimink?
Bob Harig (4:40 PM)
I would say it is a test for Tiger every week. He gives himself plenty of short irons into greens, no matter the venue. The first round of the Memorial, he had particular trouble getting the ball close from short range, but then seemed to do better over the weekend. You would think that would be his strongest part, but obviously the issues in his swing sometimes creep in there as well.
Ed (Long Island)
Which course has tougher greens to land on and putt - Pebble Beach or St. Andrews?
Bob Harig (4:41 PM)
I don't think there is any quesiton it is Pebble Beach, which has the smallest greens probably of any majore. St. Andrews has some huge greens -- several of them are double greens, serving two holes. That can mean some extremely long putts. It also means you have to be a good lag putter. It is by no means easy, but compared to Pebble I would say the Old Course's greens are not as difficult.
What do you think are Ian Poulter's chances to win the British Open this year and eventually go on to be a multiple major winner in his career?
Bob Harig (4:43 PM)
Poulter is tough to figure for me. He had that great finish at Birkdale two years ago; he won the Match Play earlier this year. He won in Singapore at the end of last year. He has flashes of great play. He was in the hunt at the Masters then fell back over the weekend. Until he wins his first major, it's hard to say he's going to win a bunch.
Beard (Little Rock)
Do guys still have fun on tour, or has that been replaced with gyms and mental gurus? Do any of the top guys have fun, or is it just a business for them?
Bob Harig (4:44 PM)
I guess it depends on your definition of fun. Some guys have a lot of fun at tour events. They take advantage of sporting event tickets or amusement parks etc. But in the end, this is their job, and a majority take it very seriously. When they are not playing in the tournament, they are working on their games or working out. For many, free time is limited.
Shaun (St. Cloud)
Any word yet on how St. Andrews is going to play in a couple of weeks? The last couple of Opens held there have been really low scoring, and have played into the hands of the long hitters with very little weather issues, but past Opens held there have been brutal when the weather arrives, so which do you feel is more likely this year?
Bob Harig (4:46 PM)
There is no doubt that St. Andrews needs weather and wind to put up a defense. It has been mild in 2000 and 2005 leading to low scoring. It's still too early, but the weather forecast for the immediate future is rainy and cool, with temperatures not even reaching 70 degrees. It had been playing pretty firm and fast lately but the weather will have a huge impact.
Lou (East Liverpool, OH)
What's the deal with this Pine Valley course so many media and players rave about? Why doesn't it ever host a tournament?
Bob Harig (4:47 PM)
It has been considered the best course in the U.S. -- certainly in the top two or three -- for years. But it is very private and also not very well equipped to handle a tournament.
I was surprised to see that Zach is not playing this week. Does it really help tour players NOT to play a week or so before a Major in order to prepare?
Bob Harig (4:47 PM)
I am fairly certain that Zach Johnson is playing next week at the John Deere, and that makes it difficult if you want to compete at the British Open.
Aaron (Saugerties, NY)
Bob, what are the chances that Tom Watson is a Ryder Cup captain's pick? He finished in the top 30 at the US Open, and we know about the British last year and this year's Masters.
Bob Harig (4:50 PM)
I think it's an interesting thought, but probably unlikely. Although Watson is beloved in the U.K -- which might make for a good reason to pick him -- he would be the first to admit that putting is his weakness. And putting is everything at the Ryder Cup. It would be a great story if he were picked, but I don't see it happening.
Pam (West palm Beach)
Its funny how the PGA Tour bills itself as giving back, yet the AT&T that has a lot of military present would have been an ideal time for more of the top golfers(americans) to show their faces etc are sitting this one out. I guess they are all waiting for the discount charter that the John Deere provides to Scotland next week!!
Bob Harig (4:52 PM)
Pam, you could say that about every tournament. They all do their part for charity. All have good causes they support. All offer jobs in the community. So in the end, these guys pick and choose their schedules based on what works best for them. And yes, those who are playing next week and in the British Open get the use of a charter, although I wouldn't call it a discount. They are all paying in excess of $1200 for a one-way ticket. Even with that, a lot of players skip that tournament and head over to Britain early.
When will the US Open come back to the NY area?
Bob Harig (4:53 PM)
At present, there is not a U.S. Open scheduled for New York. The next available time is 2018, and that looks like a good bet for New York. It is going to Erin Hills in Wisconsin in 2017 and Pebble Beach in 2019.
Jim (NY, NY)
Given the nature of the media in the UK, do you expect Tiger's British Open press conference to be a very interesting one?
Bob Harig (4:55 PM)
There has been some speculation about that, but a good number of media from the UK have been at the Masters and U.S. Open. I guess it is possible he will have to endure more scrutiny over there.
is tiger woods ever going to win a tournament again???
Bob Harig (4:55 PM)
I will go out on a limb and say yes. Multiple times.
Beard (Little Rock)
Any major course changes to Whistling Straits for this year's PGA? Is the 18th hole the exact same?
Bob Harig (4:58 PM)
My understanding is there is nothing major that has changed. The 18th will play as a 500-yard par-4, which means it is still burtal.
Have a way-way-too-early British Open prediction for us?
Bob Harig (4:59 PM)
Same one I'll make then: Tiger. He's won by 8 and 5 there, it doesn't demand the same driving accuracy of other courses, and he loves the place. Nothing is guaranteed and his game has to be on, but I still ike his chances.
Matt (Bethlehem, PA)
Bob, Who do you think will be the next first-time winner on the PGA Tour?
Bob Harig (5:00 PM)
I think it's only a matter of time for Rickie Fowler.
Aaron (Saugerties, NY)
Is a course like St. Andrews Phil's best spot to nab a British Open? The fairways are so wide and all the trouble is on the right side, so Phil's left miss won't be as bad. What do you think?
Bob Harig (5:02 PM)
It's true that Phil has never really prospered at the British Open. His best finish was in 04 at Troon when he contended at all 4 majors. I think it has more to do with how well he is playing than the venue. Your point about the fairways being wider should also help.
Bob Harig (5:03 PM)
Okay, I am out of time. Thanks again for participating. And enjoy the holiday weekend.