Chat with Bob Harig
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com golf writer Bob Harig will stop by live from Australia where he is covering the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Victoria, Australia.
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 Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Bob Harig (4:00 PM)
Good morning from Australia. Good afternoon to those checking in from the U.S. It is just after 8 a.m. here in Melbourne, where in a few hours the pairings will be announced for the start of the Presidents Cup tomorrow. Royal Melbourne is one of those iconic places in the game. And there's plenty to discuss in the world of golf. Please fire away with your questions.
Patrick (Charlottesville, VA)
Bob, since my body hates me and I'm in something like my eighth doctor's appointment or operation since mid-October, I can't join the fun. I want to know if you think the overall health of the US team will be an issue? Tiger's Tiger, Mahan has shoulder problems, and of course, there's Stricker's neck. Thoughts? Also, who do you think the pairing from both teams will be? Thanks!
Bob Harig (4:03 PM)
The health of the U.S. team is definitely an issue. Stricker hasn't played since the end of September. Mahan had to withdraw last week. The first two days of the Presidents Cup, everybody plays, you can't hide anyone.
Tommy (Green Bay, Wisconsin)
Does John Daly need to be like Sergio and take some time off? He just seems like he isn't having fun anymore. Or is retirement a possibility?
Bob Harig (4:04 PM)
Daly can't afford to take time off or quit. He needs to play and needs to play well. And if he's having a bad day -- like they all have in golf -- he needs to suck it up and deal with it. Nobody likes a quitter, especially a pro who is used to dealing with the ups and downs of the game.
I get that DJ might be a hard pairing, but why potentially split up your best team? esp in foursomes where comfort with your partner is important?
Bob Harig (4:05 PM)
It will be interesting to see what happens with Tiger. There is some rumblings that he might be grouped with Dustin Johnson in fourball, which is best ball. That is on Friday. Foursomes, alternate shot, is Thursday. Tiger and Stricker have done well the last two Cups. It is tempting to leave them together.
Thoughts on a Tiger-Dustin pairing? I think I like it.
Bob Harig (4:07 PM)
Not sure what I think about that. It doesn't work for alternate shot, but it's intriguing for best ball. I wonder about splitting up the Tiger-Stricker team.
roger (st.marys ohio)
tiger. how strong was the feild in Austraila! How do you rate his play
Bob Harig (4:10 PM)
The field was considered the best in tournament history and his third place finish got him 16.8 world ranking points. For comparison, he got 24 for his tie for fourth at the Masters earlier this year. So it was sort of in line with a mid-level PGA Tour event.
What's the deal with the delay on Ishikawa? wasn't he in the same tournament as Charl and Kim? something to do with all the rumors swirling about his GF?
Bob Harig (4:12 PM)
He was said to be late due to a flight delay. It is a long trip to here from Japan. Obviously he wasn't flying on the same plane as Schwartzel.
Hey Bob. It's great that you get to go to Australia, but isn't this like covering an exhibition baseball game. Nobody cares about the Presidents Cup, and the selection process proved this is nothing more than a made-for-TV event. The Ryder Cup has tradition and meaning. This is a pointless money grab by the Tour.
Bob Harig (4:14 PM)
Tell that to the players. They seem to think it's pretty important. One gauge for me is these guys never skip it if they're eligible. Mickelson is now playing in his 18th team competition. We can certainly argue about the selection process. The picks should have come later. And it's hardly an exhibition baseball game. Maybe more like the All Star game -- which gets plenty of coverage.
kim (lima ohio)
if tiger does well will that propell hin to a masters victory
Bob Harig (4:16 PM)
I really don't think his performance here will have much effect either way going forward. He had a pretty good Ryder Cup last year and then finished second at Chevron but it didn't translate into success this year. If he has a bad week, doens't necessarily mean he will do poorly next year either. But having some success can't hurt his confidence.
Any tension between Bubba and Tiger regarding Bubbas comments about Tiger in the past, also any chance we can see an Adam Scott/Tiger showdown on Sat/Sunday?
Bob Harig (4:18 PM)
Haven't heard or seen of any tension between Bubba and Tiger. A Scott/Tiger grouping can certainly happen -- or not happen. The captains make the pairings and go back and forth matching up their guys against the others. So if they want it to -- or don't want it to -- the possiblity exists.
tdiddy (winnipeg) [via mobile]
with the inevitable Tiger/Scott faceoff, do you see any fireworks with Stevie when the match is over. I know golf is a gentlemans game, but if I was Tiger I would'nt shake that morons hand.
Bob Harig (4:19 PM)
I'd be surprised if it was anything out of the ordinary. Tiger is about diffusing these things. If he doesn't shake his hand, he knows we all notice and it creates another controversy.
It's been great to have some quality international golf here in Australia last week and this week. Is there any chance more American's will come 'down under' for a tournament or two when there isn't President's Cup to follow? The major issue is the lack of prizemoney, can that be overcome? (while in Melbourne make sure you see the National Sports Museum at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and go on a tour)
Bob Harig (4:23 PM)
I want to check out that Australian Rules Football Stadium that is right near my hotel. Close to the Tennis Stadium where they play the Aussie Open. . . I digress.The problem is what you suggested. . . prize money. Last week's tournament purse was $1.5-million. Total. Guys make over $1-million for winning on the PGA Tour. Greg Chalmers got $270,000. So that is a huge hurdle. Yes, there is appearance money involved, but not huge amounts.The golf courses here, particularly in Melbourne, are first-rate. It would be tremendous if more came to these tournaments.But I also understand the scheduling concerns. They have great golf to play all over the world,have to take a break at some point, and it's a long trip for Americans. No excuses, just pointing out the issues.
Ed (Long Island)
Is there a course you can compare this to on the PGA tour? Also, what's the over/under on number of Foster's you drink this week???
Bob Harig (4:25 PM)
I really don't think you can compare it to anything in the U.S. It was designed by Alistair McKenzie, who did Augusta National. The greens are amazing. And when they are hard and fast, very, very difficult to putt. The course has more of a links feel. It doens't look like Scotland, but it has more of those characteristics.As for Fosters . .. been here 8 days and have yet to see it served anywhere. Seriously. Fosters is seemingly an American cliche for Australian beer.From what I can tell, it is not that popular here.
what's the atmosphere like down there? have there been a lot of fans at the practice rounds?
Bob Harig (4:26 PM)
The hotels are sold out, lots of people talking Presidents Cup. This is a big deal here for obvious reasons. Biggest golf event here since 98 Pres Cup. . . And to answer earlier question I missed: I like the International team in this one. The course is hard to learn, and the five Aussies as well as Ernie Els know it quite well. And it seems like it's about time they won this thing again.
Trevor (Portland )
Does the US have the edge to bring the cup back to the US?
Bob Harig (4:27 PM)
I don't think they have an edge this time. I think signs point against them. The injuries to Stricker and Mahan; lack of course knowledge; Phil, Kuchar, Haas not seemingly in top form (that can certainly change). Internationals motivated to win this one.
I know it's practice rounds, but is there any word on guys who have looked good or guys who have struggled?
Bob Harig (4:29 PM)
Yesterday was really the first time you could see them here and it was hard to tell. Today they are getting going but it's 8:30 a.m. here so not much to report yet.
Haha, spot on about Fosters! Also that big Aussie Rules Stadium is the 'Melbourne Cricket Ground'. That's where the 1956 Olympics were held as well.
Bob Harig (4:30 PM)
Dave, I bet you would say the same about that famous Aussie restaurant called Outback. Amazingly, they have some of those in Sydney.And so, that AFL stadium is where the cricket matches are also held?It's quite the site.
Ed (Long Island)
What distance will be considered a gimme putt this week - considering the greens seem to be treacherous? Which side do you feel has more players who are more likely to miss the 3 footers if not a gimme?
Bob Harig (4:32 PM)
I think that always depends on the match and how things are going. You might give a guy one early knowing that he'll have more difficulty making it later if things get tight.Both sides have very good putters,but have guys struggling: Els and Allenby for the internationals. Dustin Johnson didn't seem to be putting too well last week for the Americans.
Bob Harig (4:36 PM)
I like Els-Furyk but what about Els-Phil? Obviously Tiger vs. Scott is compelling. I have a hard time predicting these groupings. For tomorrow, you really want to have different styles in foursomes because it is alternate shot. The fact that everyone has to play makes for some interesting decisions.
is there anywhere to watch the tourny online or not on the golf channel?
Bob Harig (4:41 PM)
I am not aware of that. I do know Golf Channel has it live and it's at night in the U.S.
Caribs (West by God Virginia)
would you be walking 18 holes with the tiger/scott pairing if that's going to be the case?
Bob Harig (4:42 PM)
I think it depends on the situation. If the overall competition is close, maybe not. In 98, the Internationals had a huge lead. So they put Norman out against Tiger. I'm sure that was pretty compelling. But what if it's close? It will be about more than just that 1 point.
What have the guys on the team been doing when not on course or attending official events?
Bob Harig (4:50 PM)
They are all staying at the same hotel in Melbourne that also has a casino. You can bet some time is spent there. But it was a Presidents Cup gala on Tuesday night and everybody pretty much got here Monday so not much time for anyting else. I know these guys are into ping pong in their down time as well.
Bob Harig (4:51 PM)
Okay, I am out of time. Thanks again for the questions. As most of you wind down, I'm off to work. Hope you get a chance to check out the Presidents Cup. Royal Melbourne is a gem.