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 (3:58 PM)
Another week, another hole out for victory. It's been an interesting couple of tournaments in the Fall Series. Now it's on to Asia for a couple of tournaments. Golf never ends, so we're here to chat about it. Please feel free to fire away with your questions.
Is the POY voting completed becuase if not let me run this scenerio by you. Since HSBC is now a PGA tour sanctioned event, if say Phil wins that could he be voted POY. I don't beleive he should but that would give him the Masters and a WGC event and even though Furyk has 3 wins, some may think Phil's 2 big events would trump that. Your thoughts!
Bob Harig (3:59 PM)
The player of the year voting has not concluded. The tentative announcement is to come during the first week of December. And certainly I think you could make an arguement for Mickelson if he wins a WGC events on top of the Masters. You could probably say the same for a guy like Ernie Els, who would have two WGCs and three titles overall.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
Anthony Kim, Rory Mcilroy, Ryo Ishikawa and Rickie Fowler and the most prevelent of the "Young Guns" and are widely seen as the future of golf. My question is do we put too much emphasis on potential in golf and not enough on winning? Jonathan Byrd has more PGA Tour victories than all of those guys, combined. If we flashed back 10 years the young guns were Sergio Garcia, Adam Scott, Ty Tryon (to a lesser extent) and these guys have combined for only 14 wins (and 0 majors). Not a bad number but by no means superstar numbers. It seems everyone tries to build up every young player with potential as the next Woods or Mickelson. Woods and Mickelsons dont grow on trees and it seems that all we do by building these guys up with praise is to set them up for failure down the road. Scott, Garcia and Tryon have all seemingly had issues now that they are 30 and their careers are not where everyone expected them to be. Aren't we really do these players a disservice by hyping them so much?
Bob Harig (4:01 PM)
I'm not sure what the alternative is. It is true that many players get too much attention early on. Charles Howell comes to mind. But look at his success as an amateur. It hasn't translated to the pro ranks, but he had every bit the amateur and college career as some guys. I do think there is a rush to declare some guys the next great thing.
Hi Bob- Just a quick question in regards to the fall series winners. Do players like Rocco Mediate (Go Florida Southern!!) get an invite to the Masters? Or does the fall series not count for that invitation? Being a Florida Southern Alum all we need now is a Lee Janzen victory in a couple weeks!!
Bob Harig (4:03 PM)
No, unfortunately, winners of Fall Series events and opposite events do not get a Masters invite. It has to do with the strength of fields -- although several events that do have Masters invites have weaker fields than those in the Fall Series. Not sure what a difference an extra 5 guys would make, especially when you consider there's a good chance they might qualify in other ways.
Michael C. (Westport, CT)
Though the players know better than to complain, do you think most of them feel they should be compensated for playing in the Ryder Cup? Seems silly that an event generating multi-millions doesn't even pay a courtesy fee to the players.
Bob Harig (4:07 PM)
This issue came up in 1999 and the players looked bad for it. It ultimately resulted in them getting to donate a hefty sum to charity. While I believe the players went about it wrong, I absolutely think they deserve to be paid. They are professional golfers! They get paid to play golf! But they have to do this for free? And without the players, there is no Ryder Cup. Yet if they skip it, they get hammered. Players do have all their expenses taken care of and receive a small stipend, as do their caddies. And it has been argued that it is just one week. But most Ryder Cup players can charge a tidy sum for a one-week appearance. And as you say, the event generates millions of dollars.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
Handicap the chances of Woods, Mickelson, Kaymer and Westwood have for ending up as the #1 player at year end.
Bob Harig (4:09 PM)
If there is one thing to look at going forward, it is the opportunity for each of these guys to be No. 1 at the end of the year. They are all playing in at least two events that offer World Ranking points. It looks like it will finally come down to performance. I think Kaymer has an excellent change to be No. 1 when it's all over.
Tom (Simi Valley, CA)
Do you know why Mickelson never plays Tiger's event at Sherwood CC? It's not like it's out of the way for him, and there's even an airport 25 minutes from the course he could fly to every day. We'd like to see him up here.
Bob Harig (4:13 PM)
I'm not sure what the answer is. As you point out, proximity is not an issue. Phil typically shuts it down late in the year, however. Several years he didn't play after the Tour Championship. Best I can tell, he's only played in one of Tiger's tournaments, in 2002, when he was 10th.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
Why isn't there much talk about Jonathan Byrd and everything he's gone through with his father's illness and passing over the past 18 months? Also how would you rank his game? It always seems that he has the talent to be a consistent 1 win a year and maybe he sneeks in a major at some point.
Bob Harig (4:14 PM)
There was a good bit of discussion about his father's happening when it happened and leading up to it in July 2009 as Byrd's father suffered from brain cancer. I'm guessing there has not been much discussion about him lately because he simply has not performed. Byrd was outside of the top 125 when the Fall Series began. He now has four victories and, like a lot of guys, is one you'd think would contend and win more often.
Bill (New York, NY)
Hey Bob, Don't you think that it is time for Finchem to at least sit down with Anthony Kim to let him know how much he is possibly costing himself and the tour with his immature behavior? With Phil, Furyk, and Els over 40, and Tiger's damaged image, Anthony Kim has the game, charisma, and universal racial appeal to be the logical choice as the golf's next torchbearer. This would only be good for the game and Kim.
Bob Harig (4:16 PM)
It is quite possible that such a conversaiton has occurred, if not with Finchem than with somebody else at the tour. Ultimately it's an individual game and Kim did nothing illegal. But he probably doesn't help himself by doing what he did in Vegas and having it reported in such a negative fashion. Best thing he can do is get his thumb healthy and get back to playing well.
Mike S (CT)
Bob, while Matteo Manassero has been on golf fans' radars for the past few years, his win last week has created yet more buzz about a player being the "next challenger to the throne." Are we just fortunate to be in a strong period for emerging up-and-coming stars or are there other factors that are contributing to so many players contending at such a such a young age?
Bob Harig (4:17 PM)
It is likely the nature of sports. Kids get great training early. Technology really helps in golf. They play on amateur circuits that are highly competitive. Manassero had excellent training in Italy's youth programs, just as the Molinari brothers have done.
Unless someone unexpectedly enters the final tour event in the states, it looks like Matt Kuchar, of all people, wins the money title. Amazing. Who had that at the beginning of the year?
Bob Harig (4:18 PM)
I am guessing that Mrs. Kuchar did not have that at the beginning of the year.
Keith H (Seattle)
Bob, I was curious for your take on Ryan Moore. After his amateur career, he looked like The Next Big Thing. Then wrist and other injuries hampered his progress. With a win and being in contention on the tougher courses, how do you assess his progress?
Bob Harig (4:19 PM)
I am surprised Moore has not had more success as a pro, given the way he dominated amateur golf. It doesn't always mean you'll be a good pro, but Moore won everything. Certainly the injuries did not help but he appears to be getting on track. He has spurts of success and perhaps that eventually leads to the consistency necessary to be a multiple winner.
Brian (Los Angeles)
Fact or Fiction, Tiger Woods will have 15 majors titles by the end of next year and if you think so which Major will he win.
Bob Harig (4:20 PM)
I am going to say fact. I think he'll take the British Open at Royal St. George's. He missed a playoff by 2 shots there in 2003, when he was struggling with his game.
The world ranking is one thing, but who do you think winds up being the favorite by, say, April and the Masters? Dare to forecast that far down the road?
Bob Harig (4:21 PM)
It is risky to look that far ahead. Who'd have thought that Matt Kuchar would have the year he's had? But I think you have to like Westwood, assuming he gets his calf taken care of and healthy. He's really been the most consitent players over the past year.
Who do you think are the top 5 putters of all time?
Bob Harig (4:29 PM)
Just a very quick, off the top of my head answer:Woods, Nicklaus, Crenshaw, Byron Nelson, Bobby Jones. . I know I'm leaving out a ton of great ones.
Do you think Phil's physical issues are worse than we are lead to believe?
Bob Harig (4:32 PM)
It is possible that he is not telling us everything. It didn't really cause him to miss any tournaments, but what is unclear is how much it affected his preparation and conditioning.
Jim (NY, NY)
Is the Australian event Tiger is playing in gonna have a better field than last year? I recall it being very weak last year.
Bob Harig (4:34 PM)
I am not sure who is entered, but it typically attracts a strong field of Australian players. But it does go up against a European Tour event the same week in Singapore.
What are the chances that that we go the rest of the year without TW, Phil and Lee Westwood winning? It's stunning that none of the three has won since before the US Open.
Bob Harig (4:35 PM)
Since there are few events left, there is a good chance that none of the three will win. And as you say, it is hard to believe that three of the guys in the running for No. 1 have gone so long without a victory.
Will Tiger ever win again at St. Andrews? Is it to early to predict a 2015 win at the Old Course?
Bob Harig (4:37 PM)
Well, the Open has yet to be awarded to St. Andrews in 2015, although it's hard to believe they would mess up a good thing and not return in the five-year cycle they've been on since 1990.And what's to say Tiger can't win there twice more. He'll be 39 in 2015 and 44 in 2020 -- assumig the same rotation.
Correct me if my memory is hazy, but last year, wasn't qualification for the HSBC based on winning tournaments from around the world? If they're using the same qualification system, and Tiger didn't win....how is he in the field?
Bob Harig (4:41 PM)
It's a good question. Actually, there are numerous ways to get into the 78-player field. Tiger gets in because. . . he is among the top 2 available players, not otherwise exempt, from the Official World Golf Ranking as of Oct. 25.
Do you think Favre's streak will end this week?
Pam (Palm Beach)
Why the loud crowing about TW losing the #1 ranking. It is not as if the ranking was set up to benefit him only. TW always say that winning tournaments take care of everything -ranking, money list Ryder Cup etc. If Westwood becomes #1 and subsequently does not win again this year, he will lose the ranking? Correct?
Bob Harig (4:43 PM)
No, I thin the streak lives!
Bob Harig (4:44 PM)
Sorry, this got skippedPam (Palm Beach): Why the loud crowing about TW losing the #1 ranking. It is not as if the ranking was set up to benefit him only. TW always say that winning tournaments take care of everything -ranking, money list Ryder Cup etc. If Westwood becomes #1 and subsequently does not win again this year, he will lose the ranking? Correct
Bob Harig (4:45 PM)
It's a good point, and you're right, Tiger has always been about winning taking care of everything. That said, I think it's the length of the streak at No. 1, more than 5 years. And really other than about 2 months, he's been No. 1 since 2000.
Didn't Tiger get into the HSBC by winning in Australia?
Bob Harig (4:46 PM)
Good point. Among the criteria are winers from 5 Australasian Tour events, which I believe the Australian Masters was part of
When do you think that the New York area will get its next major? Winged Foot would seem like a great place to play the US Open again.
Bob Harig (4:48 PM)
It appears the next best chance is 2018. That's the next opening for the U.S. Open and certainly Winged Foot you would think would be high on the list. And perhaps Bethpage again.
Larry (Kansas City)
How many tournaments do you think TW will win next year and do you think he will win the Fed Ex Cup?
Bob Harig (4:49 PM)
The FedEx Cup is kind of a crapshoot. You can have a lot of victories and still not win it. But I am going to say that Tiger gets back on track and wins four times next year, including a major. I'll have to try and remember that prediction to remain consistent.
Pam (Palm Beach)
Rickie Fowler will be playing at the HSBC. How did he get in? Exemptions>
Bob Harig (4:54 PM)
There are two ways he could have gotten in. One is through FedEx Cup points and the other is through the world ranking. The top 5 in points not otherwise exempt get a spot. . and they just down the list. If players don't commit, they go to the next guy.
Actually that brings up a good point. When was the last PGA event that Tiger wasn't eligible for? Looks like it will be the 2011 Mercedes (or what ever the sponsor is) winners only event. I believe the previous was the 1996 World Series of Golf.
Bob Harig (4:55 PM)
It was actually the Tour Championship. That was the first event since Tiger turned pro in 1996 that he was not eligible to play.
William (St Paul)
What are Tigers chances looking like in the 2012 majors in terms of previous records at the venues?
Bob Harig (4:57 PM)
We all know Tiger has won the Masters four times and has contended a bunch since his last victory there in 2005.At Congressional, he was not in contention in 1997, although he's won the AT&T National at the venue.At Royal St. George's, Tiger tied for fourth in 2003, missing a playoff by two shots.And at Atlanta Athletic Club, he tied for 29th in 2001.
Not sure if this is an indictment of the system, or just proof of how good TW was in '09, but if his point total was divided by the number of events he's played (rather then the 40 min) he'd still be over 2 points clear of Westwood (and anyone else). That being said it's pretty clear that the streak doesn't matter that much to TW since all he'd have had to do to keep it was pretty much tee it up once in the last month.
Bob Harig (4:58 PM)
Yes, Tiger is hampered by his limited schedule. Then again, I think we all agree that he's not been the best golfer this year, that it was a tribute to 2009 that he was ranked so high.
Pam (Palm Beach)
Sorry Bob, TW did qualify to play the 1996 Tour championship. He qualified Last and I think came in last also. His father suffered a heart attack and thus he did not play well
Bob Harig (4:59 PM)
This year's Tour Championship is what I was referring to. Since 1996 when he turned pro, the 2010 Tour Championship is the only event for which he has not been qualified.
What is your favorite Major? Mine for some reason is the Open Championship.
Bob Harig (4:59 PM)
I agree, mostly because of the uniqueness of the venues and the fact that such a big event is typically held in such small locales. Everything about the Open is neat, no matter the venue.
William (St Paul)
Thanks for answering my question! I was asking about 2012 though. Do you mind answering that?
Bob Harig (5:02 PM)
Oops sorry.Let's see.The 2012 U.S. Open is at the Olympic Club, where Tiger tied for 18th in 1998. That's a long time ago, and there is nothing to suggest the venue would not be good for him.The 2012 British is at Royal Lytham, where Tiger tied for 25th in 2001 the year David Duval won.And the PGA next year is at Kiawah Island, where to the best of my knowledge, Tiger has never played.
Bob Harig (5:03 PM)
Okay folks, I'm out of time. Thanks for all the questions. I'll be back again next week. Keep 'em coming. . Thanks.