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 (4:01 PM)
Thanks for visiting this week's golf chat. Not much to talk about, huh? We're coming off one of the best final days ever at the Masters. It's certainly in the discussion. Lots to talk about if you wish, so fire away with your questions. Thanks
I can't stand how everyone is calling Schwartzel a nobody and saying he came out of no where. I heard someone on ESPN say even the most die hard golf fans didn't even know who he was. How is being in the top 30 in the world coming out of no where?
Bob Harig (4:02 PM)
Just because he's in the top 30 doesn't mean he was well known. A true golf fan was aware of Schwartzel, but he's a rookie on the PGA Tour which means he's played rarely in the United States. It was just his second Masters. All of his previous victories came overseas. It's easy to see what many did not know much about him.
After Martin Kaymer missing the cut last week, who do you believe is the #1 player in the world?
Bob Harig (4:03 PM)
I still believe it's Kaymer, based on his body of work. And that's basically how the OWGR operates. It takes a picture of a guy's play over a period of time.
I believe you said yesterday on The Herd podcast that you think Tiger is still young enough to play great golf. Having said that, what factor do you think most reduces his chances of passing Nicklaus' majors record?
Bob Harig (4:05 PM)
Yes, he's young enough. He's still got another 40-some majors where he could quite conceivably be competitive. That said, it's no lock to win majors in your 40s. Some have done it, but not many. Jack won 3 in his 40s, and one was incredibly unlikely at age 46. Tiger's also got to get his putting straightened out. He's turned into an average putter with too much streakiness and far too many three-putts.
Why did the PGA tour move the Harbor Town stop on the schedule? I always thought that was a perfect time for it givin the location and relaxed atmosphere than the Masters.
Bob Harig (4:07 PM)
Harbour Town is a week later this year because there happens to be an extra week on the calender between the Masters and the Players Championship. So they moved the Texas Open to this week. Last year it followed the Players. It is a one-year deal.
What past accompishments will be harder for Tiger to do again? Win numerous Tour events in a year or win a major in runaway fashion?
Bob Harig (4:09 PM)
I think it will be much harder for him to win numerous Tour events in a year. He averaged 6 victories a year from 2005 through 2009. That's incredible. It won't be easy to win a major going away, but certainly possible.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
Heard an interesting parallel between Tom Watson and Tiger Woods recently. I am not old enough to remember but apparently Watson's putter started to fail him in his early 30's despite being considered the best player in the world. Watson never won another Major. I think there is a slim chance Tiger fails to win another Major and would still bet that he breaks Jack's record but a pretty interesting parallel right?
Bob Harig (4:10 PM)
Arnold Palmer also stopped putting well and stopped winning majors at age 34. Then again, Ben Hogan and Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus won majors into their 40s.
So under the new rule if I make the cut on the number (and am one of 70 who made the cut) on Friday and shoot say 64 to get in contention on Saturday and then Saturday night it is found that I inadvertainly broke a rule (ala Padraig Harrington). Since I made the cut on the number and have been given a 2 stroke penalty would I be DQ's, given a MC or allowed to play with a 2 stroke penalty? Also since only 70 made the cut what do you tell the guys who finished t71 and would have made the cut had I been given the penalty on the spot since I would have slid down to a t70 with all of them?
Bob Harig (4:13 PM)
The way I understand the new rule, it only applies to very narrow cases where technology helps determine that a player broke a rule when there was no way he could have known otherwise. The example you point to is one of the reasons the USGA and R&A were reluctant to go down this path. If you change things later, it can have an effect on the cut. In the example you mentioned, if the two strokes added would mean missing the cut, then you miss the cut. But if the two strokes added allow you to keep playing, you do so with two strokes added to your score. . As for the other scenario with the cut, that is much more difficult to figure out. At that point, it would be too late.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Do you think the 2011 Masters Champion will win another PGA Event this year?
Bob Harig (4:14 PM)
Hard to say. He certainly has shown the ability to do so. But Cabrera, Glover and Cink have not won since they captured majors two years ago.
Ed (Long Island)
Do you think all of the pre-Master's tournament talk about experience is overrated? The players all play the course multiple times before tournament week, practice rounds the week of the event, and 4 rounds of tournament play. Look at the leaderboard this week, many without years of Master's experience contending, and an amateur coming in below par. So why all the hype about experience?
Bob Harig (4:16 PM)
I don't think it is overrated. There is a reason why just one player other than the first two has won in his first attempt. This year we had some guys do well with little experience. Schwartzel was playing for just the second time. Jason was second in his first appearance. When Tiger won in 1997, he was playing the Masters for just the third time. So there are exceptions. But in general, it takes a lot of knowledge. And the course typically does not play the same once the tournament begins. You can play all the practice rounds you want in February and March and the actual playing conditions are nowhere similar.
Mike (Charlotte, NC)
Just wondering if patrons can "share" badges at the Masters - meaning if I get picked in the lottery and get two tickets for a tourney round can two people go in for half the day then leave and pass off the badges to other people to go in and see the course?
Bob Harig (4:18 PM)
Yes, the badges can be shared. If you exit one day and want to give them to someone else, you have to go through an exit gate that states you want to do this. They scan the badge to know that you left before giving it to someone else.
Can you update me on what Goydos is doing this year? Have not seen him on alot of leader boards.
Bob Harig (4:19 PM)
Goydos has played 10 times this year, but has just one top 25 finish despite making 7 cuts. He is 138th in FedEx Cup points.
Matthew (Columbia, NJ)
Bob, what a great championship sunday! How will Rory McIlroy rebound from sunday's debacle?
Bob Harig (4:20 PM)
It won't be easy, because he's going to continually be asked about it. He has handled the situation with class so far. It was big of him to answer questions as he did. That helps. Now when he gets in contention again. . what happens? Does he learn from it or dwell on it?
It seems like guys like Mcilroy and Garcia are put at a disadvantage, in the sense that they had early success which puts so much more pressure on them than a guy like Schwartzal.
Bob Harig (4:21 PM)
Yes, but if you have early success and win, then it's so much easier. That was the case with Tiger. He won his first major in his first pro start in a major. How big of a relief was that? He had all four majors won by age 24.
Ed (Long Island)
We all know that Phil's career will never approach Tiger's, but with that being said, do you think his sustained success over the length of his career is under appreciated. He is still ranked 3rd in the world, when was the last time a 40 year old was the betting favorite going into the Masters? Look at how many golfer's have come and gone during his tenure on the tour and he is still one of the top players in the world, still with a chance to becoming #1 with a major win this year.
Bob Harig (4:22 PM)
There is no doubt that Phil's career has not been appreciated to the degree it should, mostly becaue he's played in the Tiger era. Nobody's career is going to stand up to Tiger's today, butPhil has 39 tour titles, which ties him with Tom Watson. Only 8 players have won more than him in PGA Tour history. The 4 majors is also impressive. Think of all the great players who didn't win 4.
Mike (Charlotte, NC)
What is the PGA tour's reasoning behind limiting ex-members to 10 events vs. the 12 that non-members can play? Seems like if someone meet all their requirements when they had membership they shouldn't then be punished for not taking it up the next year - Those numbers should really be the same and it seems silly to "reward" someone whose never been a member with additional starts while hurting the player who supported the tour for that year previously
Bob Harig (4:23 PM)
I agree. If you're not a member, it shouldn't matter if you were a member prior or not. You stil get limited starts, which is the price to pay for not taking membership.
Brian (Westborough, MA)
Does golf need 2 WGCs after Halloween?
Bob Harig (4:24 PM)
No, it doesn't. It would be far better if the 4 they have now were dispersed among the regular schedule, perhaps one a quarter. To play one in China and one in South Africa so late in the year is going to come with issues, the biggest being getting everyone to play.
Hi Bob- Do you think the Masters this year was the best one you have seen in recent memory?Also just as a side note I gotta feel for K.J. Choi. I know we talk a lot about certain players never being able to get over the hump at Augusta (Norman, Els etc.) but it seems like K.J. Choi has been there every year but can't quite seem to close the deal.
Bob Harig (4:25 PM)
There's no doubt it was one of the best, but Choi has only been a factor a few times. Last year he tied for fourth. In 2004 he was third. Nothing better than tied for 15th in six other appearances.
Mike (Charlotte, NC)
Do you think it is a good sign for the long term that Wells Fargo put their name on the tourney this year? With the contract expiring and Quail Hollow already getting a PGA in 2014 wanted to see if you felt like the event here in Charlotte would continue after 2012?
Bob Harig (4:27 PM)
It is a good sign. That means Wells Fargo, which was paying for the privilege and not taking advantage of it, now feels it is good to be associated with golf. To pay the money but not takd advantage of the publicity seems a weird wasy to do business but sort of shows how bad the p.r. was in sponsoring a golf tournament for a time. As for the future in Charlotte, that is more up to the folks who run Quail Hollow, who are getting the PGA in 2014. Not sure if they will want to do both or take a year off or if doing both is even possible.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
No matter what, Tiger Woods is going to be one of the biggest news stories for every tournament he enters. What do you think of Tiger doing the opposite of what he has done the last few years and play in more regular tour events? Not only would it allow Tiger to work on his swing but it would allow him to get in more of a routine?
Bob Harig (4:29 PM)
This has been discussed forever. People don't understand why Tiger doesn't add more tournaments. This year, he played the same schedule as usual. No variety. No extra tournaments. Hard to understand. But that schedule has also worked well for him in the past, and he has typcially taken the less is more approach.
Looked to me that the Big Winner at the Masters was the course changes since '97. This was the first Master's with more or less ideal conditions since the addition of length and rough and some tree placements. The bombers can no longer swing away without risk (but not US Open-type risk), which then places more emphasis on iron play. The better balance between driving and iron play makes for a much more exciting tourney--and, of course, putting remains treacherous as always.
Bob Harig (4:30 PM)
They seem to have balanced things now. It had gotten too easy. Then it got too hard .Now it seems about right for the weather conditions. They seem to allow scoring on Sunday with easier pin positions but it's definitely not an easy test the other days.
Why does Tiger have to show his emotions so much on the golf course?
Bob Harig (4:31 PM)
A lot of players are criticized for not showing enough emotion.
You think this long putter will continue to work for Adam Scott in the coming months/years?
Bob Harig (4:32 PM)
It is certainly working for him now, but it is interesting to note three is still not a player who has own a major using the long putter.
Is Justin Leonard retired, or did he just lose his qualification?
Bob Harig (4:33 PM)
Leonard is still playing. He's played in nine tournaments this year, just wasn't eligible for the Masters.
Obviously Rory has a ton of talent, he's very young and I hope he wins majors in the future, but at what point does his tendency to put up big numbers (on holes and rounds) become something he needs to sit down and figure out, rather then just chalking it up to a bad day?
Bob Harig (4:35 PM)
My guess is he's trying to do that right now. The 80 he shot at the Open last year was due to impatience. He didn't realize how brutal the day was and that shooting 74 or 75 would still be okay. At Augusta it was nerves and putting. You could tell early he wasn't comfortable. He missed some putts early and everybody got back into it. Putting is probably what he needs to be concerned with the most.
Hey Bob, I just to let you know TW'12 is awesome. Playing Augusta on that is great.
Bob Harig (4:35 PM)
I have heard similiar comments. Thanks
Does the golf media take a lack of access and openness differently then other sports press? From the outside it doesn't seem like TW treats the press all that diff then a lot of big superstars (and there's a reason a locker room is closed for a little while before opening to the press), but I read a lot more complaints about his behavior
Bob Harig (4:37 PM)
Tiger endures more scrutiny because he's Tiger. In truth, Tiger's dealings with the media are pretty good. There are not many one on one opportunities, but he talks after nearly every round of golf he plays. Very rarely does he say no. That's unusual. Plenty of players who are not near Tiger's level blow off the media.
Should the PGA Tour play a tournament where all of the prize money gets donated to charity?
Bob Harig (4:38 PM)
While it might be neat and a good thing to do, I don't think they should be criticized if they don't. Would you want to work a week for free? Every PGA Tour event's goal is to donate money to charity. In a sense, the players are part of that. Their presence helps raise funds for the tournament with the proceeds going to charity. And many of them have charitable organizations or give generously. And then there are the guys who are near the bottom trying to scratch out a living. Should they be required?
If I'm Tiger's PR person do I ever let him do another post round - interview after a close finish? Seemed like he would've been better off saying no, and how does anyone win in that situation? He gets no credit for doing the interview and ripped for the tone (and honestly it didn't seem that bad by the time I watched it after hearing about it).
Bob Harig (4:40 PM)
Tiger wasn't far from forthcoming in the CBS interview afterward, but I would contend that the questions were not very good. He came and spoke to the print reporters moments later and was fine. It is a tough time to do it, moments after you've finished.
Do you think there will ever be a tournament where the PGA and the LPGA are combined? Not stroke play but perhaps teams? Don't you think it would be good for the game?
Bob Harig (4:40 PM)
There used to be such a tournament called the JCPenney Classic. It ended in 1999. PGA and LPGA pros played a form of alternate shot. It was popular, played in the offseason. But there are so many offseason tournaments now.
How would you rate Garcia's performance last week? Hopeful and promising (T3 after 9 holes on Saturday) or hopeless?
Bob Harig (4:42 PM)
I woulnd't call it hopeless, but the weekend (75-73) was certainly disappointing after a promising start.
Ed (Long Island)
Tiger has obviously had one of the greatest careers of all time, if not the greatest, but that being said, do you think Tiger would personally think his career was a disappointment if he doesn't break Jack's record? That is the only goal that he ever talks about and seems to be his sole focus.
Bob Harig (4:43 PM)
It would be hard to say Tiger's career was a disapointment regardless. Would he think so? Probalby not publicly. But he will likely always wonder what could have been. He's wasted a lot of time because of his personal issues.
It's funny, McIlroy was more gracious and forthcoming in his interviews after that train wreck on Sunday than Tiger is in his even after he wins. I was going to say Tiger could learn something from that, but then I realized he won't, and nor will he care to.
Bob Harig (4:44 PM)
Some people are wired differently. Tiger is not that way, unfortunately. He could be more gracious in defeat. Then again, you're talking about the heat of the moment. It's not easy. That's what made what McIrloy did impressive.
How concerned should Lee Westwwod fans be about his long putter flirtation. I mean if Tiger has putting problems, what do Lee (and Rory) have?
Bob Harig (4:45 PM)
Yes, that was interesting to see Westwood go to a belly putter. He's not had a top 20 finish this year.
Matt (Cary, NC)
I loved watching the pairing of Quiros, Woodland and Vegas. Who in your opinion has the brightest future of those three?
Bob Harig (4:46 PM)
Good one. I don't know! They all are fascinating to watch. Quiros has won several tournaments. Vegas and Woodland are just getting started. Vegas appears to be the best putter, which would be a big help.
Bob, that's sort of the sense I get re: Tiger and the media as well, but guys like Kobe, Tom Brady etc also get a lot of attention and yet you don't hear the same criticisms, despite similar seeming behavior, so I guess the question I'm asking is what the heck is the golf media's problem? :)
Bob Harig (4:48 PM)
Kobe plays a lot of games and Tom Brady is available to the media after games and practice. Tiger is much more limited because he doesn't play that much. And some feel he simply doesn't try hard enough to give good answers.
Ben H (The Forest City)
In articles about the BMW Championship moving to Cherry Hills (yay) it was mentioned they want to move up the Fed Ex Cup Playoff Schedule to stay away from NFL. How can they do this without moving the majors up?
Bob Harig (4:50 PM)
I don't think there's been discusison about moving up the schedule. The Cherry Hills event is in early September, which might suggest the other playoff events will be later.
From seeing the comments of the SA tour guy, it almost seems like he thinks as long as you hold a WGC everyone is required to attend. If the tournament is the first weekend in December he might be in for a rude awakening
Bob Harig (4:51 PM)
I wrote an item about this in my birdies and bogeys column on ESPN.com (sorry, shameless plug). You're right. There is no guarantee. Plenty of guys skip China. Even $10-million won't lure everyone to South Africa.
If I'm not mistaken, this is now 4 major championships in a row where the winner calls the European Tour his "home tour". Coincidence or trend?
Bob Harig (4:52 PM)
McDowell, Oosthuizen, Kaymer and Schwartzel all play on the European Tour. But McDowell, Oosthuizen and Schwartzel are also members of the PGA Tour. I think we will continue to see players from all around the world win majors, but a majority will still play in the U.S.-- even if they are not Americans.
It seems like a lot of the glamour is gone in the PGA. Am I wrong or are today's players not as exciting to watch?
Bob Harig (4:53 PM)
I guess it depends on your perspective. Sunday was pretty exciting to watch. So was the Sunday prior when Mickelson battled Scott Verplank to win in Houston.
Pam (Palm Beach)
Please comment on the difference on winning a major from behind vs ahead. What truly is the harder feat. Tiger gets dissed becuase he has never come from behind to win
Bob Harig (4:54 PM)
It is easier to win from in front, in my opinion. You've got more room for error. Tiger shouldn't be dissed for never coming from behind. So what? He's won 14 majors! It shows how well he played in them that he got out front and stayed there. In a way, it's more impressive. He didn't have to count on somebody collapsing. He went out and did it.
Ed (Long Island)
Does the US Open set up better for any one type of player?
Bob Harig (4:55 PM)
It will be difficult to know until we see the setup at Congressional. Typically the U.S. Open is about grinding it out, making pars. That suits patience. It usually requires accurate driving to avoid brutal rough.
Sorry, I've just gotten a little sick of the constant whining and stories from the golf media about how badly Tiger treats the press given the guy does at least 100 press conferences a year. At this point if I were him I might stop doing them, and it seems like that's a bad situation.
Bob Harig (4:57 PM)
I really don't think there is that much whining about it. As I wrote earlier, for the most part, he is accessible after rounds. Every round. There is nobody in more demand after every single round of a tournament. Phil would be the same way, and Phil doesn't always talk. I don't blame them. But Tiger by and large has been pretty good. He might not always be very forthcoming, but he is available.
Matt (Cary, NC)
Ricky Fowler was in contention going into the weekend, but faded Saturday and Sunday. CBS didn't show us much of him, was it the putter that let him down?
Bob Harig (4:58 PM)
He was in pretty good shape through two rounds then shot 76 on Saturday and fell off. It was his first Masters, and he simply struggled on the weekend.
Pam (Palm Beach)
I disagree that winning from ahead is easier. 4 out of the last 5 majors the leaders collapse and was passed, or in Lee's case did not play well. Look at the number of players who have given up leads in past years. A player in the back has nothing to lose and no one expect him to win, so he really is free wheeling especially if he is playing well
Bob Harig (5:01 PM)
Adam Scott was 5 behind, shot 67, and lost by 2. Tiger was 7 behind, shot 67, and lost by 4. By sheer numbers, it is more difficult to come from behind. Yes, leaders have faltered of late. But don't forget that McDowell played in the last group at the U.S. Open. Once Dustin Johnson blew up, it was his tournament. He had to play the whole way in. He was glad to have the small cushion he had.
Every tournament writers tweet their complaints, and there is at the very least a mention in the story about Tiger being a pain in a press conference. There are at least 4-5 golf articles right now complaining about the CBS interview he gave. How is that not a lot? I can't even find some other sport where it's even commented on, unless the person never does one
Bob Harig (5:01 PM)
He came off poorly in the CBS interview, unfortunately.
Ben H (The Forest City)
http://www.golf.com/golf/tours_news/article/0,28136,2064774,00.html"The 2014 dates are set for now as part of a deal reached in March, but they could be moved to mid-August. The email indicates the PGA Tour will negotiate TV contracts for the 2013 season and beyond this year. As part of the negotiations, the tour may propose to move the start of the playoffs up to avoid conflicts with the start of the NFL season."I think its a good idea, but I just don't see how they do it without moving PGA Championship/Open Championship up (only one tournament between PGA Champ. and start of Fed Ex Cup)
Bob Harig (5:02 PM)
There's a lot to work out there. The date for 2014 is early September. If anything, there needs to be more space between the PGA and the playoffs.
Pam (Palm Beach)
The Media has been dead silent on Phil's masters performance consider that they said that it was his master to lose. Why is that?
Bob Harig (5:03 PM)
Anybody who said it was his Masters to lose was foolish. The talk going in was that it was the most wide open Masters in years. His victory at Houston gave Phil a boost and for some reason he didn't not sustain it. That was a surprise.
Bob Harig (5:04 PM)
Folks, I am out of time. Thanks for all the quesitons. Lots of good ones and they are appreciated. Please check back again next week, or send questions to my mailbag: email@example.com. Thanks
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