Chat with Bob Harig
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com golf writer Bob Harig will stop by to talk about the 2011 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, thanks for checking out this week's golf chat. Plenty to talk about again in the world of golf so let's get started. Fire away with your questions.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
I went to Doral on Friday and Saturday and noticed that especially on Saturday the Woods/Mickelson crowd was huge. There must have been 7000-8000 people following them. We cut ahead a few holes and came across the Furyk/Fisher group and were part of the 7-8 people following them. Do players care how many people are following their group? Also we had to wait in line to leave the golf course after the Woods Mickelson pairing finished at about 2pm on Saturday. I always viewed them being paired together as a great thing but seeing this it definately creates problems for tournaments. Does the tour view a Mickelson/Woods pairing as a good thing or bad thing?
Bob Harig (4:03 PM)
I don't think there is any question that players notice if few are following them, especially the big name players. There wasn't much of a crowd the first day with Martin Kaymer, Lee Westwood and Luke Donald. They definitely noticed. Phil and Tiger are a huge draw, which is why over the years the tour has sought to NOT group them together. The idea is to spread out the spectators, let them watch one play in the morning and one in the afternoon. So the tour likely views such a pairing both ways. It sees the good and the bad.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
At this point in their careers are non major wins for Tiger and Phil historically irrelevent? If so why is it such a big deal if they are not playing well? Phil had 1 lousy top top and MC'd the week before the Masters last week and he cleaned up?
Bob Harig (4:06 PM)
This is an interesting debate. To me, it's significant. Tiger has a chance to pass Nicklaus on the PGA Tour list and become the all-time leader if he passes Sam Snead -- who won 82 times. Woods has 71 and Nicklaus had 73. Phil has 38 wins and 12 more would get him to the hallowed 50 mark. Only 7 players in history have won that many.
Hey Bob -- Love your work. I'm drafting golfers for this year's majors. So I need to know -- do this year's major venues set up well for anyone? Thanks!
Bob Harig (4:09 PM)
You might not love it saw much if you saw my weekly picks, so consider this at your own risk.At Augusta, I think you have to go with the longer hitters -- even though that is not always who wins. But Phil and Tiger obviously have strong records there. Ernie Els once did. I kind of like Nick Watney there after his good performance at Doral.Congressional -- that's where Els won the U.S. Open in 1997. Tiger has won the AT&T National on the same venue.Royal St. George's -- a quirky venue where Ben Curtis won in his first major start. But after him were a bunch of seasoned players -- Vijay Singh, Tiger, Davis Love, Thomas Bjorn.Atlantic Athletic Club -- David Toms prevailed with the lowest score in championship history. Excpect low scoring again. It's going to be hot
Hi, Bob, 70-74-70-66. Does 1 great round mean Tiger is coming back? I am not convinced although I hope he does. It just seems like there is a confidence issue there; when it's on, he's great. When it's not; he's mediocre. Your thoughts?
Bob Harig (4:12 PM)
Hard to disagree with that. One good round does not mean Tiger is back. He would admit that. He's had difficulty putting a good round together, let alone for an entire tournament. But he did seem to find something during that Sunday round. It seemed easier, not as rehearsed. And there is no question his confidence has taken a hit as he has struggled.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
Does the PGA Tour have a gambling policy? Can a player bet on himself or someone else?
Bob Harig (4:14 PM)
The policy is you can't do it. You might have just seen that the European Tour made it against the rules for a player or caddie to place a wager on an event in which they are competing. Hard to believe that rule wasn't on the books sooner. For obvious reasons, the PGA Tour wants no part of its players gambling on the outcome of an event.
Do you think most guys on tour would choose to have say 3 wins in a year and no other top 10's, or 10 top 10's?
Bob Harig (4:15 PM)
They would want the three wins AND 10 top 10s. Given a choice, I think there's little doubt they'd go for three wins at the expense of consistency.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
Just had to turn down an invite to Saturday at The Masters. Tell me something awful about the experience that will make me feel better about missing it. I want to cry.
Bob Harig (4:16 PM)
You absolutely cannot bring your cell phone into Augusta National. For some people, that is traumatic.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
What do you expect from Sergio this year?
Bob Harig (4:19 PM)
I just wrote about him (sorry, shameless plug) in my birdies and bogeys column. This is his first U.S. appearance since the PGA. To be honest, Sergio seems to still be looking for that fire. Not sure he has it back yet. Then again, maybe with less expectations he will do better. But he's using the claw putting grip and I'm not sure this is going to be a big year for him.
Craig G. (Fairfield, California)
Hi Bob. I always appreciate your chats and the updates you give. Can you give an update on my favorite golfer, Mike Weir? Thank you.
Bob Harig (4:22 PM)
Weir has had difficulty regaining his form after elbow surgery last year. He had a major medical extension for the first part of this year, but failed to earn enough money to be fully exempt for the rest of 2011. That means he'll need sponsor exemptions or to rely on his past champion status to get into tournaments. He is not playing in this week's Transitions Championship.
Steve (Toledo, OH)
Im writing a paper on why golf IS a sport, do you have any advice fro me?
Bob Harig (4:26 PM)
You'll obviously get plenty of arguments on this one, but to me, the ability to get he golf ball around a course is undoubtedly a sporting endeavor. It might not take strength or endurance, and yet those factors can make a big difference. It takes nerves and skill and concentration and focus. We could go on and on. Another factor: ask stars in other sports what they think when they play golf.
Hey Bob. I was wondering. Do you know anything about Tim Clark's health? He has WD from numerous events this year. Will the Masters be in jeopardy for him? Thanks
Bob Harig (4:30 PM)
It's been a tough go for Clark. He hasn't played since the Sony Open. He has an elbow injury and didn't play last week at Doral. My guess is the Masters is in jeopardy -- either that or he's trying to not make it worse before then.
Jeremy (Marlboro, NJ)
Hey Bob. In the two events since the new cell phone rule went into effect, how does it appear to be working?
Bob Harig (4:31 PM)
So far, there have been no major issues that I'm aware of. The biggest problem has been people using their phones to take photos or video. That is prohibited, and a lot of spectators don't seem to know it. The marshals now have a tough job policing that. But as far as people taking or phones ringing, that has not been an issue.
Matt (Greensboro, NC)
Anthony Kim has been invisible so far this year. Expectations going forward?
Bob Harig (4:39 PM)
I keep thinking Kim is going to get it together. That thumb injury that required surgery last year was a big deal and he appears to have come back from it too soon. I think if he is fully healthy and practicing he will do well.
Did Dustin Johnson really hit his own grandfather with a tee shot at Doral? I heard them say something along those lines when I was watching Sunday. What are the chances.
Bob Harig (4:42 PM)
He really did -- on the fly. It could have been horrible. His grandfather was fine, thankfully. Amazingly, the ball came to rest behind a group of trees. And that is when the siren halting play sounded last Thursday. When they came back out, the trees had been uprooted by the storm. Johnson had a clear shot. You cannot make this stuff up.
What do you think about the Titleist 735cm irons?
Bob Harig (4:45 PM)
Ah, you're asking the wrong guy on that one. Have not played them -- not that my game is worthy of judging anyway.
Pam (Palm Beach)
Did Brandel Chamblee get a lobotomy? Because watching the re-run of the T-cup last night, his tone about Woods golf was sugary considering the vinegar he has been piling on for the past months
Bob Harig (4:47 PM)
I did not see the broadcast, but Chamblee is a tell-it-like-it is kind of guy so I'm guessing he must see some positive signs in Tiger's game.
What can you tell us about Arjun Atwal? Do you think he has in him to be one of the top ranked golfers?
Bob Harig (4:50 PM)
He became the first native of India to win on the PGA Tour when he captured the Wyndham Championship last year. And he did that playing as a Monday qualifier. Pretty impressive. Atwal has won 9 other times around the world. Now that he is fully exempt on the PGA Tour for two more years, perhaps that frees him up for more success. But he turns 38 this weekend. NOt sure he will be one of the top-ranked players in the world.
Pam (Palm Beach)
Please clear this up -It is said that because of Arnie, the masses came to golf. Who were these masses? the ordinary man in the street or the same mostly rich folks that now attend tourneys.
Bob Harig (4:52 PM)
My take is that the casual fan, someone who might not otherwise have watched, became much more interested in golf because of Arnold Palmer. He helped make it cool. It didn't seem so stuffy or proper. People liked him so they followed him.
I like Dustin Johnson's resiliency. Will he win a major this year?
Bob Harig (4:53 PM)
It's true that Johnson seems to have the ability to move on from disappointment. He's done it a bunch of times. The guess is that Sunday's disappointment won't last long. Will he win a major this year? I wouldn't be surprised if he contended.
Pam (Palm Beach)
Bob, I was talking about Chamblee's attitude and tone in his speech. he has been downright personal in his assessment and last night he stuck to the game. Frank even commented that they have been nitpicking Woods, and that some of the changes could only be spotted on slo-mo.
Bob Harig (4:53 PM)
Yes, I didn't see it, but know that Chamblee has not been the only one nit-picking Tiger's game. It sort of goes with the territory. Perhaps the Tavistock was viewed as a place to take the gloves off.
Any reports on how Tiger hit it at the Tavistock Cup? More good play and a carryover from Sunday or more inconsistencies?
Bob Harig (4:54 PM)
The word is it was not really a carryover from Sunday. He played okay. Shot 69. Had the same inconsistencies that have plagued him. Hard to complain about a 69 but there were still the negatives.
How do you figure Spencer Levin will do this week? He's been playing solid golf all year.
Bob Harig (4:55 PM)
He has been solid, playing nearly ever week. He lost in a playoff in Mexico and played well at Honda. Innisbrook is a place where you don't have to make a ton of birdies and it seems his game would fit in nicely.
What are your thoughts about Augusta being featured in the new TW'12 video game?
Bob Harig (4:56 PM)
It's another eye-opener concerning Augusta National. Who would have ever thought the club would be involved with a video game? The guess here is that will be a big seller.
Bob Harig (4:58 PM)
Until these young players start winning regularly, it doesn't mean much. There is always a lot of great young talent that comes along. That doesn't mean they will be consistent winners. As you pointed out, many of this year's winners have been older.
Bob Harig (5:02 PM)
Okay, I'm out of time. Thanks again for the questions. I also answer questions via my mailbag at email@example.com. We'll chat again next week.