Chat with Bob Harig
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com golf writer Bob Harig will stop by to talk about the 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 Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Bob Harig (3:04 PM)
Sorry for the delay folks, scrambling a bit today at the Players Championship. Bear with me. Let's get started with your questions. Thanks
Scott (Philadelphia, PA)
Why is the purse for the Players higher than any of the 4 majors?
Bob Harig (3:08 PM)
The PGA Tour tries to make the purse one of the things that distinguishes the tournament from the majors. It has yet to be announced, but believe it will be over $9-million this year at the Players.
Tom H. (Hartford, CT)
Is there a modern day golf equivalent of Byron Nelson -- someone who retired at the peak of their game while at a still relatively young age? Or is the money just too good today and the lifestyle not as much of a grind as it was in the '40s?
Bob Harig (3:09 PM)
I can't think of one. Byron was in his 30s when he pretty much walked away.
Tom H. (Hartford, CT)
Just finished American Triumvirate. Seems as if Snead and Hogan both went through late-career slumps like Tiger is currently in (occasional win but struggles with swing/putter). Both did win big again, including majors. Will Tiger follow a similar path and work out the kinks?
Bob Harig (3:11 PM)
That's the big mystery, isn't it? I think that's why we watch and follow and report and write stories. Whether or not Tiger can regain his form and chase Nicklaus or instead struggles is compelling.
Tom H. (Hartford, CT)
Hogan had no interest in the Champions Tour and played sparingly. In contrast, Snead played a lot and basically made the Champions Tour what it is. I see Phil as Snead and Tiger as Hogan. Or do you think Tiger has the passion for the game to keep playing into his 50s and 60s?
Bob Harig (3:13 PM)
To be fair, Hogan basically quit playing in the mid-60s. He was rarely seen at tournaments. He never went to the Champions dinner at Augusta, things like that. That said, I have a hard time seeing either Tiger or Phil playing a lot of senior golf. The problem today is that these guys have made so much money, they don't need it. In its earliest days, the Champions tour was a huge money-making vehicle for guys who made next to nothing in their careers. Even today, you see it -- mostly -- dominated by guys who did not have the best regular careers.
Kevin Tyler (Louisiana)
Currently at No. 5... do you think Dufner can hang on and make the Ryder Cup team?.... Would he even be considered for a Captain's pick if he is outside of the top 8?
Bob Harig (3:14 PM)
If he doesn't hang on, it all depends on how he is playing and what the makeup of the team is. If a veteran player who has experience does not make the team, I would think Davis Love sides more toward that kind of player. But if Dufner continues to put himself in contention, he'll make the team on his own.
Keith H (Seattle)
Good afternoon, Bob. Any Dan Jenkins stories from the Hall of Fame induction last night? I love the line on his future headstone: "I Knew This Would Happen."
Bob Harig (3:14 PM)
I encourage everyone who enjoys Jenkins to search for the stories or check out the Hall of Fame website. His induction speach was terrific.
Who would your player of the year be so far this year?
Bob Harig (3:15 PM)
Bubba, simply because he has a major and was second at a WGC.
How is the voting done with the Hall of Fame in Golf? I saw Phil only got 72% of the vote which I thought was low. Are some voters like baseball voters that refuse to vote for a guy on the first ballot?
Bob Harig (3:17 PM)
There is a wide range of voters. Media, tour officials, corporate sponsors. I'm not real comfortable with the situation. I'm sure some didn't vote because they feel 40 is too early.
One of the things not mentioned much in Tiger's struggles since 2009 is Par 5 scoring. He used to own par 5's particularly in Par 72 events. He was just -1 at the masters and -2 at Wells Fargo but consequently was -12 at bay Hill where he won. Your thoughts
Bob Harig (3:18 PM)
I have pointed this out a bunch in stories. You are correct. Par-5 domination has been a huge issue. I'm not sure it's as simple as that, but at Bay Hill he took care of the par-5s. If he birdies one of the four on Friday at Quail Hollow, he would have made the cut. He didn't.
What is so special about the Stadium Course? Other than 16, 17, 18, no other hole is memorable.
Bob Harig (3:19 PM)
It's a matter of taste. The place is unique. It has come to be known as the home of the tournament. Not everyone loves it, obviously.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Will we see Rickie Faller win another PGA Tour event this season?
Bob Harig (3:21 PM)
I wouldn't be surprised either way.
Bob - There has been talk recently about Tiger may not finish the year with Foley as his coach. Do you think that is realistic and do you feel that is the right move? He should be fired for changing Tiger's putting and chipping... why mess with Mozart?
Bob Harig (3:22 PM)
Not sure how much credence I put in any of that talk. Tiger is not one to give up. And he's also not one to give in to pressure. There has been plenty of second-guessing about what he has done in his short game, to be sure.
Doug (Kansas City)
Is the course playing firm and fast this week bob?
Bob Harig (3:23 PM)
It just rained a good deal earlier today, so I would say no to that. with the heat here, it's hard to get those conditions otherwise they lose the course.
Matt (Woodbury, MN)
How many tour officials are there on site at a regular tournament? We always here how the players have requested an official and are waiting for the official to arrive.
Bob Harig (3:24 PM)
There are typically only two or three rules officials on site. They can't be everywhere. That is why we sometimes see them wait.
Matt (Woodbury, MN)
At what point does Joe LaCava say something to the effect of, "Hey Tiger, how about you just hit this one like an athlete and quit thinking about how you're going to hit it."
Bob Harig (3:24 PM)
A lot of people think that's what Tiger should do. It appears to be more difficult than that.
What is Ricky's ceiling as a player?
Bob Harig (3:25 PM)
My only concern is his unique swing. It seems to require a great deal of timing. In other words, getting it to repeat, espeically as he gets older.
Does Tiger just need to play more to get this new swing down?
Bob Harig (3:27 PM)
I think he's playing plenty. This is his ninth tournament of the year. Working on it at home, too
Is there to much insta-analysis? Partly on Tiger where it seems like every swing is a referendum, but also a guy wins once, they'll win a bunch of majors
Bob Harig (3:30 PM)
No doubt. That is the nature of life for Tiger. Every swing, every round, is analyzed. Too many rushes to judgment. I fall into it, too. It is easy to do.
Tiger hasn't had much success at the Players since that 2001 victory. I think just one top 10. And knowing he walked off the course the past two years, coming off a missed cut, his mind full of doubt -- this week can't end well for him.
Bob Harig (3:31 PM)
Or maybe he tries hard to reverse the trend. Clearly the memories here of late are not good.
What dont some of the players like about TPC Sawgrass?
Bob Harig (3:32 PM)
It's the definition of target golf. Basically on every hole, every player is trying to hit to the same general area -- no matter what club gets them there.
Take your time today, Bob. It's a process.
Bob Harig (3:32 PM)
A long one.
Could Fowler's second shot in the playoff be the shot of the year so far? Tremendous pressure trying to get win No. 1, playing against the No. 1 player in the world and playing a hole nobody had birdied all day. That was simply brilliant.
Bob Harig (3:33 PM)
I think Bubba's shot at the Masters will be the shot of the year. Fowler had a 133-yard wedge, straightway. Still, it was risky. And he pulled it off -- although there had been 4 birdies at 18 prior.
Condo Casa de Woods (Vegas)
Any chance we see Woods MC 2 in a row?
Bob Harig (3:33 PM)
I would not be surprised either way. As stated earlier, this has not been a kind venue to him of late.
The Master's seems like a blip for Rory. Do you expect him to content at the remaining majors?
Bob Harig (3:34 PM)
I think the Masters is why you can't just assume he will. We expect him to, but it doesn't always happen.
So now that Rickie got the monkey off his back, does the reduced pressure allow him to go on a roll? I could easily see him winningat Kiawah? Ryder Cup lock at this point?
Bob Harig (3:35 PM)
No doubt it takes pressure off. Now when he gets into contention, he can use it as a positive rather than worry about a negative outcome. I'm not sure he is a Ryder Cup lock. Not yet.
In the players eyes is The Player's the 5th biggest tourney of the year?
Bob Harig (3:36 PM)
I don't think there's much quesiton. Some might think a world event is bigger, but it's hard to argue with the field here, the purse, the prestige.
Do you have any intel on Olympic? What will the course play like for the US open?
Bob Harig (3:37 PM)
Sounds like it will be play long and tough. Around par will win.
Chris (Cincinnati, OH)
Bubba is obviously a family-first guy, but at what point does skipping tournaments start to affect his popularity/overall game? Seems like he couldn't care less about golf. Just a phase or reason to worry about his future in the game?
Bob Harig (3:39 PM)
This is a tough one because it is hard to give anyone grief for putting their family first. And adoptions are much more life-changing than having your own baby because there is little time to get used to a lifetstyle change. Still.. lots of people go through such changes and go to work.He's going to end up playing just 2 tournaments between the Masters and U.S. Open. And he's brought on some of the exhaustion himself.
Bob (Phoenix, Az)
Since Fowler is now off the list, who is the best player without a PGA tour win?
Bob Harig (3:39 PM)
I am going to go with Steve Marino, even though he's not done much lately.
I personally admire Bubba for taking a month off to bond with his first child. One of the perks of winning is being able to set your own schedule. What do his peers think of him skipping big events like the Players and Wells Fargo?
Bob Harig (3:41 PM)
This is a fair view. But as I said earlier, lots of people have family issues and go to work. He's skipping the tour's biggest tournament.
Jim (NY, NY)
I'm sure you caught Dan Jenkins comments. Serious question- do you think the reading public is being well served when a writer of supposed Hall of Fame caliber is dismissing Tiger Woods career accomplishments and stating it's yet to be seen if he has any heart because his majors have all been won from the lead? Seems like a lack of judgement or more likely personal bias clouding his judgement- neither of which are becoming of a Hall of Fame writer.
Bob Harig (3:43 PM)
In all honesty, Jenkins has had a strange chip on his shoulder regarding Tiger. I love Jenkins and what he has done. Love his writing, his wit. But he has held against Tiger his lack of accessibility. Jenkins came up at a time when the writers got to pal around with the players, when access wasn't an issue, when they didn't need the publicity. Tiger comes in a different era with tons more media and demands. So, just my opinion, some of what Jenkins says about Tiger goes to his own personal frustrations concerning the suject.
Dominic (Reading, PA)
What are your thoughts on the Hall of Fame criteria and the potential for players to be inducted at a rather early age and while they are still potentially playing on tour? What would you say a good solution would be to the controversy?
Bob Harig (3:44 PM)
Easy: make the minimum age 50. Solves a lot of problems, gives a boost to the Champions Tour if they are still playing.
After Tiger in about 5 years, is there anyone else that will get remotely close to elected to the HoF right at age 40? I suspect we won't have the same age problems the last 2 years anymore.
Bob Harig (3:45 PM)
It's a good point. The standards will go down, for sure. Getting to 20 wins is going to be quite the achievement.
Anybody else get a free drop when the lose a ball 40 yards into the trees besides Tiger? You know nobody picked that ball up. There were 100 people looking for it immediately, and nobody saw anybody pick up a ball. That was the Tour trying to make sure he made the cut.
Bob Harig (3:48 PM)
That is quite a charge you are making, one that goes to a man's credibility. I don't know what happened. It was crazily unusual. Some said they saw it come out of the trees to a bare area where it could not be lost. Others didn't. It is quite possible somebody grabbed that golf ball. You've got quite a conspiracy theory to say they thought it through and gave him a break. Now, where there is a true issue is the rulebook. It says you have to be certain the ball was stolen before you award a free drop. It's hard to say they were certain.
why do people keep saying tiger nees a "Seve or Phil" career to tie or past Jacks majors, for cryin out loud, Tiger is so much better than those two guys (no disrepect either to those two), but it just doesn't make sense.
Bob Harig (3:49 PM)
They are saying he needs to win as many majors to tie Nicklaus (Phil, 4) or pass Nicklaus (Seve, 5). . but in a vastly shorter period of time. Those guys needed an entire career to do that. He has to do it in, what, 8 to 10 years? That is why that analogy is made.
What did Chamblee say about Tiger?
Bob Harig (3:51 PM)
Basically, that he should fire Foley and go back to Butch (not happening, even if Tiger wanted it to). And that he seems to be doing all these confusing things in his swing. . .
I guess I am confused- what would the media like Tiger to do differently in his press conference? If it's open up, be more candid, whatever, how about asking him different questions? I think the public is just as sick of the same swing change questions as Tiger is. I just don't understand what more he can do to appease you guys if you keep asking the same things. How about some Lakers talk, that I could get behind!
Bob Harig (3:55 PM)
When he is struggling, we're going to ask him what he's working on, what he's doing to get better. That's what happens. We get a few questions, we're not going to ask him about the Lakers, sorry. There is a redunancy, to be sure. But I would say that those who were here today were pleased with the range of questions. He talked about closing 54-hole leads, the 17th at Sawgrass, his struggles in this tournament, last week.
Rory was hitting his 3 wood 330 yards on Sunday. Can Bubba even do that?
Bob Harig (3:56 PM)
I think he can, but I bet it would be close. Bubba can hit the driver farther. But Rory had at least 15 drives over the weekend that were over 300 yards. It was impressive.
Any chance we'll see a change in approach to the game given that Bubba has never had a coach and Rickie hasn't had one in a year? Add to that the evidence that too many coaches have finally messed up the best player in the world. Those that know their own swing and play with feel have so much more going for them.
Bob Harig (3:57 PM)
I think it might give guys pause, like maybe there is another way than having to have a teacher.
Ryan Moore, 3 top 10s in 4 starts. Is he on the right track?
Bob Harig (3:58 PM)
He seems to be. I'm surprised he doens't win more. I know he had injuries, but he his a solid player.
You and I talked about it a bit on twitter, but this Bubba situation is ridiculous. Paul Lawrie gets killed for his decision, deservedly but Bubba with the exception of you has essentially gotten a free pass. Unreal
Bob Harig (4:01 PM)
Lawrie is simply skipping the U.s. Open because he admits he doesn't like it. To me, that is lame. If you're eligilbe for a major and have no injuries, no family issues, you should play.Bubba's case is different. He doesn't deserve harsh criticism. It just simply makes you wonder. As I said earlier, adoption is a huge, life-changing deal, as much or more so than having your own child. They had been trying for a couple of year to adopt. All of a sudden, with about 2 days notice, they have a baby at home. That has to be amazingly emotional and difficult and life-altering. So his state of mind right now might not be into golf. And I get that.I just think that six weeks later, 2 hours from home, you figure out a way to be with the family and play the tour's signature tournament.
Ed (Long Island)
I didn't see the shot, but should Tiger have been give a free drop last Friday at Quail?
Bob Harig (4:02 PM)
That is the big debate. Nobody ever found the ball, which by the letter of the law means he had to take a penalty and play from the previous spot. But there is a rule that allows for the possibility that someone took it. The rules official felt that was the sitatuion and here is the biggest point -- the other players in the group, who are there to protect the field as well, did not have a problem with it.
Brian (Altoona, PA)
What are the chances of the Tour adopting a player must play a ceratin tourney once every say like 4 or 5 years? I go back to the Valero with that god awful field but yet Curtis won over a million. Why would Valero offer that big in the purse in the future for such a god awful field?
Bob Harig (4:04 PM)
The 1 in 4 or 5 is never going to happen. The LPGA does it but the tour likes the idea of players choosing the schedule. As for the purse at Valero, it is bascially mandated by the tour.
Bob Harig (4:05 PM)
Folks, sorry for the late start, and now I'm out of time. Thanks again for your participation. I'm at the Players Championship all weekend. If you have a question I can answer in 140 characters, try me on Twitter @bobharig. Thanks.