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 (4:00 PM)
Hello, we're back to chat. After missing last week, there's plenty to catch up on. If the British Open is still on your mind, please don't hesitate. Plenty of other golf going on as well with the seniors and LPGA playing majors this week. I'll try to get to all of your questions, but feel free to fire away.
What was up with the Canadian Open last week and starting off the 1st and 9th tee. Has that ever happened before?
Bob Harig (4:02 PM)
Patrick, I have never heard of that prior to the Canadian Open. For those unaware, instead of doing a two-tee start off the first and 10th tees -- the way they do it every Thursday and Friday -- they went off the first and ninth tees. It was a logistical issue with the course that made it easier to have them start on No. 9 rather than 10.
Ben (West Virginia)
I'd like to know what you mean't by, "Given the location" of the Greenbrier Classic. Can you please elaborate on that?
Bob Harig (4:03 PM)
Ben, it's "given the location on the schedule." It has nothing to do with the geographical location. He is referring to a piece I wrote for ESPN.com which basically says the Greenbrier Classic is in a tough spot on the schedule.
Ross (Ames, IA)
Not sure I follow your logic on why Greenbriar's spot on the schedule is to it's detriment, heck it borders Ohio
Bob Harig (4:04 PM)
Again, nothing to do with geography, Ross. When six of the next eight weeks are considered "must plays" for the PGA Tour elite -- and seven of nine if you include the Ryder Cup -- guys are going to skip this week. It's certainly not the tournament's fault.
What is your take on the Alexis Thompson controversy and whey didn't she wait to turn pro until after this so she could have had a chance to qualify. It was only a few weeks after she turned pro.
Bob Harig (4:06 PM)
The reference is to Thompson being denied a spot in a qualifier for the Women's British Open this week. She was exempt for the spot from her amateur success but gave up the exemption when she turned pro. You're right, if she wanted to keep the exemption, she should have waited to turn pro. But she has already made more than $300,000 playing as a pro for three tournaments. Perhaps that is why she did not wait.
I know it will never get the attention it should and taking Tiger out of the mix, has there been a more dominating performance in the last several years that Oosthesan at the Open Championship?
Bob Harig (4:07 PM)
Patrick, if you take Tiger out, I don't think there has been a more dominating performance going all the way back to 1980 when Jack Nicklaus won the PGA Championship by eight strokes. Tiger has had a few blowout victories, but I can't think of anybody else. Oosthuizen led by 5 after 36 holes and nobody got closer than 3 the rest of the way and he won by 7. Pretty impressive.
cell phones at the golf? what good can come from that, we could have some unhappy golfers at this whyndham championship?
Bob Harig (4:09 PM)
The reference is to the news that the Wyndham Championship is going to experiment with letting people bring cell phones to the tournament. It's risky for sure. But I think there is some merit to trying this. Cell phones today have so many applications that can enhance the tournament viewing experience. Tournaments can tap into this. And obviously you can't have people talking on their phones or letting them ring. But so many people bring them in anyway. It will be interesting to see how this is handled.
Bob, do you think it would help Tiger in his comeback if he played more than one tournament a month?
Bob Harig (4:11 PM)
Jason, I detect a bit of sarcasm in your question, but certainly understand your point. Tiger has said for most of the year that he's way behind other players in tournament rounds. Well, of course he is! And he's really done nothing to make up for it. Since returning at the Masters. he's played the same exact schedule as last year, excpet he's skipping this week -- a year ago he won the Buick Open this week. The tournament no longer exists. So, yes, you could argue that perhaps he should have added some tournaments.
Rich Reid (Phoenix, Arizona )
Bob, Are you worried about the future of American men's golf? Tiger and Phil getting older and no real "superstars" up and coming (Fowler, Watney, and D. Johnson not scaring the Euros).
Bob Harig (4:12 PM)
I wouldn't say I'm worried about it. It's just part of the cycle. Right now the best U.S. players are older. The younger ones have yet to really emerge, but there are plenty of candidates. And there is nothing wrong with international golfers having success. That is the beauty of the game. And let's face it, from a Ryder Cup perspective, I think it makes things more interesting.
Mike S (CT)
Bob, to what do you attribute Geoff Ogilvy's relatively mediocre play? Ogilvy has looked like a clear Top 5 player in some elite events (match play x 2, WGC CA Championship, U.S. Open), but hasn't posted a result better than T13th since opening the year with a win.
Bob Harig (4:13 PM)
Mike, I don't know the answer. It is as puzzling to me as you suggest. Ogilvy just seems to disappear at times.
What do you think the chances are that Tiger loses his #1 ranking soon to someone other than Phil Mickelson?
Bob Harig (4:14 PM)
Nelson, I think Lee Westwood has a shot to pass them both. It's close enough now that given the right circumstances, it could happen.
What do you think the chances are that Tiger break Jack's record for majors won?
Bob Harig (4:15 PM)
Ben, there seems to be a lot of talk now that Tiger's chances are dwindling. I think it's too early for that. We're less than a year removed from him winning a bunch of times. This year has been a setback, no doubt.
I'm looking down the list of European Ryder Cup candidates....if you have to burn one captain's pick on Justin Rose...perhaps another on E. Molinari to pair the brothers...Casey would have to be a captain's pick....it is conceivable they could leave out Padraig Harrington? How loaded is this team going to be?
Bob Harig (4:16 PM)
Great point. Monty said recently he could put up two teams that could beat each other. He's got some tough decisions to make. Surely he'd love to see Rose and Harrington make the team on their own. I have a hard time believing he won't take Harrington. I think he takes Harrington over Casey if it comes down to it. Imagine.
Bob Harig (4:21 PM)
I would think he has to factor in recent success and putting ability.The top 8 picks are for overall consistency. Then he has three more weeks to pick the last four guys. I'd go with the hottest players over the last month or so leading up to that day. Maybe a combination of experience and good play. You could take Mahan and Cink for experience, Overton and Barnes because they've played the best.
Is Tiger doesn't automatically qualify for the Ryder Cup, any chance Captain Pavin won't pick him as a captains pick? What a slap in the face if that happened!
Bob Harig (4:22 PM)
That would be a shocking development. Whatever Tiger's issues, you have to remember that he has a great singles record at the Ryder Cup (losing only in his first year) and seems to have found a partner in Steve Stricker. They went 4-0 together at the Presidents Cup. I can't imagine picking anyone else over him. But we still have to find out if Tiger even wants to participate. That, to me, is the only reason not to pick him, if he doesn't appear to want to play.
Can we please pronounce Tiger dead?
Bob Harig (4:22 PM)
Way too early for that, in my opinion.
Has there ever been a POY race this wide open, ever? We just might as well give it to the FedEx Cup winner at this point unless Phil, Graeme, or Oosty win the PGA, right?
Bob Harig (4:24 PM)
Good point, I don't think it is anywhere close to being decided. Furyk and Els have two victories apiece, then you've got three different major winners. Justin Rose has also won twice. Lots of candidates.
Do you agree that everyone is counting out the US in the ryder cup while they still have very strong player including 4 out of the top 5 in the world?
Bob Harig (4:26 PM)
There is no question that it is easy to write off the U.S. due to the strength and depth of the European side. Then again, how many times has the Ryder Cup not gone to form. That's part of the beauty of the competition.And Dan, I'm just seeing your latest post. Forget about asking any other questions or getting them answered.
James (Houston, TX)
What type of course is Whistling Straight's, and who would be your favorite and sleeper at the PGA.
Bob Harig (4:28 PM)
Whistling Straits looks like it is straight out of Ireland. Nearly all of the holes either border or are within site of Lake Michigan. It has a links look. As for who is favors, that is hard to say. Vijay Singh won the last time in a playoff that included Chris DiMarco and Justin Leonard. Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson were in contention. So was Chris Riley. Lots of different styles. Maybe that means it doesn't favor any specific type of player -- which is a good quality.
Overton can't putt. If Kim is still on the shelf, you take Fowler and pair him with Mickelson. Phil loves playing with the younger guys.
Bob Harig (4:30 PM)
It is true that putting is such an important factor. And it has hurt the U.S. in the past. Kim is returning next week so it will be interesting to see what kind of form he is in. I like your idea of putting Fowler with Mickelson. Lots to consider for Captain Pavin.
There has been talk lately that Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey could become a big personality on the PGA tour...what do you think of that? Will his unconventional swing and southern personality have him endure with the fans? Can he win on the PGA tour?
Bob Harig (4:32 PM)
It's all about competing. Gainey was on the tour a couple of years ago and couldn't keep his card. He seems personable enough and has a different story. But to get that story told you need to have some success. Looks like he's going to get another shot.
Follow up question: If Tiger does qualify, can he decide not to play? If he does, what do you think the public backlash would be here in America?
Bob Harig (4:32 PM)
He can certainly decide to skip if he wants. That is his choice. I'm guessing it wouldn't go over very well if he decided to pass. The guess here is that he is going to make the team and play.
Who do you see winning the pga?
Bob Harig (4:34 PM)
Marty, I get a bunch of these type of questions every week, and I often shy away from them because it is really, really hard to pick. If you saw my Ladbrokes betting slip from St. Andrews -- where betting is legal -- you'd know what I was talking about. Case in point: who in this world gave Louis Oozthuizen a shot at the British Open??
How stupid is it for the Senior tour to put two majors back to back - and have them be on different continents.While on this rant, how stupid is it to have 5 majors? And to label a tour Champions when not everyone on the tour has won?
Bob Harig (4:35 PM)
Bob, well said. . . For the life of me, I can't understand the back-to-back majors. They've been doing it this way for years and it just makes no sense. Please, can't the powers that be get together and fix it?
Its too bad that South Africa can't field a Ryder Cup team because I think they would be very competitive in a similar format with the U.S. and Europe.
Bob Harig (4:39 PM)
No doubt. Then again, the South Africans have not helped the international team in the Presidents Cup very mcuh.
Tom (Simi Valley, CA)
Not sure what to make of Mickelson's year so far. On one hand, any year you win a major, particularly the Masters, is a good year. On the other hand, a 2nd at Charlotte and a 4th at US Open as the only other good results are probably not what he had in mind.
Bob Harig (4:40 PM)
I guess the most consistent thing about Phil is his inconsistency. You just never know what to expect. The door was open to take over No. 1; he seemed poised to do well at St. Andrews and Pebble.
If you cant pick a player to win can you tell me what kind of player whistling straights favors? What style of play best fits the course?
Bob Harig (4:41 PM)
Not sure it favors anyone, as mentioned earlier. Look at the guys in the mix the last time: Singh, Leonard, DiMarco, Mickelson, Els, Riley. Lots of different styles.
Any chance J.B. Holmes is a captains pick? He did play well last time and has been consistent all year.
Bob Harig (4:42 PM)
A long-ball hitter has to always be intriguing to the captain. That's why Dustin Johnson will be an interesting player for the U.S. A long ball hitter can be a great asset in best ball.
Courtney Jackson (Lindenwold, NJ)
Hi bob, do you think that tiger is going to win a tournament in the near future?
Bob Harig (4:43 PM)
I do. I think it's just a matter of time. He is not that far off. We judge him by a different standard.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
Do you think Tiger's recent 'settlement' will motivate him to get back into form? He is not the sponsor-darling he once was, so the cash is not going to be rolling in like he's used to. As funny as it sounds, he might need the money to live the lifestyle is has been living the last decade. Agree?
Bob Harig (4:46 PM)
Interesting point. It's hard to fathom someone having difficulty living on "only" $50-million as opposed to $100-million plus. I'd like to think he is set financially no matter what happens. I think his motivation stems from other things beside money, but if he can find an advantage in it, I'm sure he will take it.
Instead of picking someone to win the PGA, a more creative question: Who's the next player in the Oosty/McDowell mode (someone not in, say, the top 25 of the WGR) who's most capable of breaking through for a major first? Seems like there's always 1 or 2 of them every year now.
Bob Harig (4:47 PM)
You're right, there seems to be one every year. Y.E. Yang. Immelman. Ben Curtis. The list goes on and on. But these guys wouldn't be in that category if we were identifying them at will. Nobody saw Oosthuizen coming. The guy had missed 7 of 8 cuts in majors.
Ed (Long Island)
It really is ridiculous how little the top players actually play. Based on the schedule, they basically play only 50% of the time. This is not the most strenous sport, and you would think that since it is their livelihood, and competetive spirit that sports bring about, they would want to play more often. Michael Jordan never sat at the end of the regular season when the Bulls had everything locked up. In this economic environment you would think that exposure of the top players would be important. Obviously the FEDEX Cup is not inducing golfers to actually play. What do you think of cutting the FEDEX participants to only the top 30 players and not the top 125 to start off? It is supposed to be a playoff, only the top FOR THE CURRENT SEASON should be able to win the championship. Maybe that would get the top players playing more tournaments instead of once a month.
Bob Harig (4:49 PM)
Ed, this is a topic that can't be tackled completely here.Actually, the top players often play less than HALF of the events. There are some 45 events on the schedule and many only play 20.If anything the FedEx Cup playoffs have made it so guys play less as they try to pace themselves. And while the game is not strenuous, the travel and grind of practicing and playing can be if you are playing tournaments every week.Lots of tough issues involved in this.
Ryan (Seattle, WA)
Do you think Tiger has a sot at Bridgestone? We all know he has been yanking putts left and right, but is an no-win season really Tiger's fate for 2010?
Bob Harig (4:50 PM)
Bridgestone should be a good barometer for Tiger. He's won there seven times overall. Loves the course. If he is playing well, he should at the very least contend. And, yes, certainly the possibility of a no-win season exists.
what happened to Chris DiMarco? last time i remember hearing his name was when Tiger waxed him at Augusta, and that was 5 years ago...
Bob Harig (4:55 PM)
He suffered a rib injury while skiing a few years ago, got into some bad swing habits and has not really been the same since. DiMarco. who turns 42 next month, has been outside of the top 125 money winners each of the past two years.
Do you think the Fed-Ex cup has hurt the regular pga events by backloading the schedule and filling up so many of the tournament slots on the top players schedules (I mean Jack Nickalous didn't play that often but it was more spread out)?
Bob Harig (4:57 PM)
There might be something to the theory. Starting next week, the top players will likely play six tournaments in eight weeks -- Bridgestone, PGA (skip Greensboro), Barclays, Deutsche Bank, BMW (off week), then Tour Championship. For those who make the team, the Ryder Cup is the very next week in Wales. That's lots of golf, lots of travel. Guys try to pace themselves. And they want to peak for the biggest tournaments. If you play this week, you've just added to it.
Adam (Austin, TX)
Where has Jesper Parnevik been? Haven't heard his name in a couple of years.
Bob Harig (4:59 PM)
He just played his first tournament of the year last week at the Scandanavian Masters. He had surgery earlier this year for a broken vertebrae in his back that he thought would end his career. But apparently he is going to try and make a combeback.
Bob Harig (5:00 PM)
Okay, I'm out of time. Thanks for all the questions. I'm sorry there were a bunch I could not get to. Check back again next week. I'll be at the Bridgestone. Thanks again.