Chat with Farrell Evans
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN.com golf writer Farrell Evans stops by to give you the latest from the links.
Evans grew up in Forsyth, Ga., 60 miles south of Atlanta, where he learned the game at the Forsyth Golf Club, an 18-hole public course. After high school, he played on the golf team at Florida A&M University and interned with the PGA Tour at the TPC at Sawgrass.
Before joining ESPN.com in August 2011, Evans was a golf writer for nine years at Sports Illustrated. He currently lives in Harlem.
Send your questions now and join Evans Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Farrell Evans (2:58 PM)
Welcome to my Wednesday chat. Let's get started.
With all the parity (15 different major winners?), I don't see anyone in this current crop of players winning more than 3-4 majors for their career. I think the "next" Tiger is not born yet. What do you think?
Farrell Evans (3:00 PM)
Nemes,I agree. The next player to win 74 tournaments is likely not born yet.
What would you do to improve the LPGA? Bring yardage down to 6000 for more scoring? No caddie assistance on every shot?
Farrell Evans (3:02 PM)
The LPGA is an American-based tour that really needs marketable U.S.-born women to be the best players in the world. And all the courses out there should be set up for low scoring.
How often do you golf these days?
Farrell Evans (3:03 PM)
I played this morning and hope to get in a few more rounds before I head over to England for the Open Championship.
Tommy (Green Bay, WI)
Does John Daly get his tour card back this year? I think he will... Seems to be dedicated to the game again.
Farrell Evans (3:05 PM)
Tommy,It would be a great story if Big John could get his card back. I think if he could play a full schedule on the PGA Tour he would prove that he can still play. He still hits the ball great.
Ken (Moseley, VA)
Hello Farrell. Enjoy your work. In fact, I just read an old article of yours regarding David Duval's attempted comeback (late last year?). I am a big David Duval fan and have been pulling hard for a successful (i.e. maintain card) comeback. Recently, when he did some US Open coverage for ESPN, he made it clear that he still plans on playing golf competitively and successfully. He also mentioned that he has been dealing with injuries that he has not spoken about (other than a documented back issue). He has rested five weeks and now goes on a four week spurt including a return to his only major championship at Royal Lytham. Do you have any insight into what he has been dealing with? Can we still hope for magic in a bottle the next several weeks (I keep reading that his old coach says he has his swing back and that mechanically he is there...mental hurdles remain is the inference.)?
Farrell Evans (3:08 PM)
Duval developed some really bad habits in his golf swing during his injuries. He already had a pretty unique swing. But things got really bad for him once he stopped being able to hit the ball in play off the tee. You can't play golf that way and stay on tour.
It was really nice to see John Daly win the Senior Players Championship. Fear the Mullet! How do you see the rest of his year going?
Farrell Evans (3:10 PM)
Joe Daley is a good story. As for John Daly, I see him getting a few top 10s this summer that could get him near the top 125 on the money list.
Big fan of Steve Striker here (what a golf name - ball STRIKing). Anyway, do you think he 4-peats at the John Dear Classic this week?
Farrell Evans (3:12 PM)
Stricker should win his fourth John Deere Classic, but as I said in my column today, I'm not sure if another win here helps his career, unless he can use it to vault his game to a new major championship level.
Who do you think wins the Rider Cup this year? I have to go with Spain - Sergio, Fdez Castano, and Villegas can all really play.
Farrell Evans (3:13 PM)
Has someone kidnapped Shoshana's email? This doesn't sound like her.
Your favorite course in the UK? Are you bringing your clubs on this trip?
Farrell Evans (3:14 PM)
Bob,If I play I will try to rent clubs. I have never played in the UK. I;m just looking forward to playing on a real Links course.
LPGAT is U.S. based, and yes, another Nancy Lopez would help but the American sports entertainment plate is very full. I don't see much growth opportunity here...merging or co-sanctioning events with other women's tours seems to be the best way to grow the tour...your thoughts?
Farrell Evans (3:17 PM)
Tony,I think your instincts are good. The European Tour co-sanctions events with several tours around the world. I think the LPGA is already considering how to make its tour more international without losing its base in the States.
I've always heard it's good to hit the ball first when coming out of sand traps. How to pros pull this off consistently? Who is the best bunker player on tour?
Farrell Evans (3:19 PM)
S.The sand should lift the ball out of the bunker. Most of the guys nowadays are better than average bunker players. No one really stands out for me. But if I had to bet on player to hit a bunker shot for my life it would probably be Phil Mickelson.
How do you feel about appearance fees? Any truth to the Tiger/Phil payouts for the Greenbrier?
Farrell Evans (3:21 PM)
I'm all for appearance fees. it does nothing to hurt the integrity of the game. The players who take the appearance fees may even have more pressure than the typical player to do well in those events. Either way you still have to hit the shots.
Have you been to the Open before? How does the atmoshphere compare to the other majors?
Farrell Evans (3:23 PM)
The fans at the Opens are probably more knowledgeable as a group about the game. Also the crowds are a lot broader. Sometimes at a PGA Tour event you can feel like you're at a country club outing.
Never heard about Hank Haney before Tiger, haven't heard much (except for the book) since. Do many players feel he is not as good? He was good enough for Tiger.
Farrell Evans (3:25 PM)
Hank Haney is probably done as a teacher on the PGA Tour. And it's not because he can't help a player. It's more about the bond that he broke in the sacred player-teacher relationship that won't soon be forgotten by people in the game.
We don't even need an email...we can put in any name and location and post a question...I could post as Shoshana (Boston) with her horrible spelling and all...
Have you heard of any Mickelson current off-course issues that have been hampering him, or is he just off and in a slump?
Farrell Evans (3:27 PM)
Phil hasn't really been right since he was elected into the Hall of Fame during the week of the Players. He may just be struggling a little bit with confidence.
As a former teaching pro, I get the impression Haney doesn't care about teaching Tour players anymore. He'd rather just teach, period. If he wanted to be a celebrity (see Butch Harmon), he'd try to be one. Your impressions?
Farrell Evans (3:30 PM)
Doug,Hank has been very invested in being a star. Why else would you do a TV show with Golf Channel and write a tell-all book about your most famous client?If you're a teaching pro, why wouldn't you want to work with the best, rather it's your club champion, your top junior or touring pro?
Tour Championship/Fedex Cup...I know Coke stepped up for a long term sponsorship of the finale. Now that players are starting to buy in do you think it would be best served to rotate the finale to different sites?
Farrell Evans (3:33 PM)
Tony,I'm biased on this one. I grew up around Atlanta and I was sad when the old BellSouth event was killed at Sugarloaf. In fact, I was sadder when that tournament left Atlanta Country Club.So I don't want the Tour Championship to ever leave the Atlanta area.
How do you feel about keeping the tour card being the top 125 on fed-ex, while its possible someone could be top 125 money and be left out with new rules? I am reading that correctly right?
Farrell Evans (3:36 PM)
The money list and the FedEx Cup are pretty closely aligned in terms of how the points are distributed. But the Tour wants to make the FedEx Cup the main thing.
Any favorite courses you've played outside of the U.S.?
Farrell Evans (3:37 PM)
I have not played a lot outside of the U.S. I recently played at Albany in Bahamas, a Ernie Els-design, that plays like a links course.
I think the backlash against Haney has turned him off from the Tour spotlight for a while. I also see a little bit of the Fluff Cowan/Tiger dynamic (NOBODY's a bigger star than TW in his circle).
Farrell Evans (3:39 PM)
That's very true what you say about how Tiger deals with other stars in his camp. But in defense of Tiger I have to say that it's important for folks that work for one of the world's most famous athletes that everyone be dedicated solely to helping him meet his objectives. That's the gig.
After a spectacular rookie year and a strong start to the 2012 season (I believe eight straight Top 25s to open the year), is Keegan Bradley simply in a slump or is this the type of player to expect through the next five years?
Farrell Evans (3:41 PM)
Nick,K.B. is a solid. He has a great caddie in Pepsi. Life is good for Keegan. He just needs to keep playing and not get caught up in where people think he should be because of his PGA win.
I know how you feel about ACC. Bill Johnstone's daughter Jessica was the swim team coach at the club where I taught and going to play ACC was the best perk I had.
Vijay seems to be playing great at times but struggling for the consistency. Age, injuries, or just a slump?
Farrell Evans (3:43 PM)
Vijay is in great shape, probably the best shape of his life. But for some reason he can't put four rounds together.
Jeff (San Francisco)
Its been raining almost every day at Lytham. You would expect with all that rain that the course is playing really slow. Do you think the R&A will try to make the course a little harder before the Open or will they just live and die by the weather conditions?
Farrell Evans (3:44 PM)
The R & A likes to put players at the mercy of the weather. That's sort of the point of the Open Championship.
Why have long-drive champions not been able to compete, even on the Nationwide/Web.com tours?
Farrell Evans (3:46 PM)
There is a difference between playing golf and trying to hit the ball a long way. Most long-drive champions are probably not bad players if they know how to use their wedges. But it's just a different skill set to work your way around the golf course as a touring pro.
Drive for show...putt for dough!
RLSA is tough as nails for the average golfer. played there with a member who was a 9 handicap and he shot a 95 in 10mph win...yikes!
Do you think Atlanta will ever get another regular Tour event? How about a Champions or Web.com event? Or is it Tour Championship only?
Farrell Evans (3:48 PM)
Doug,The market isn't big enough sponsorship wise to support more than one event, unless Home Depot or Depot or Georgia Power steps up. You need a deep pockets local sponsor to make another event happen in Hotlanta.
hey Farrell, do you agree with Chamblee's comments that given the differences in women's drives off the tee, iron shot spin rates, etc..that women should be playing courses at 6000 yards? Do you feel courses like at the Open played unfair to the women?
Farrell Evans (3:49 PM)
I don't always agree with Mr. Chamblee, but he's right about this one.
Farrell, I am stunned that you guys didn't bash Tiger much after his missed cut.
Farrell Evans (3:49 PM)
Ankeet,He missed a cut. It happens. And he didn't play all that bad to do it.
Thoughts on Suzann Pettersen's Body Issue?
Farrell Evans (3:50 PM)
What's good for the LPGA is good for golf. Hopefully, Pettersen can ride this attention for a little bit.
Nick (Washington DC)
Farrell, Which courses would you take out of the Open rota. Also I refuse to call it the "British open" its the open championship people!
Farrell Evans (3:51 PM)
Nick,It's the Open Championship. And I would consider adding some courses to the rotation not subtracting.
I don't want you to think I'm putting Butch down. He's a GREAT teacher. I just think he wants to be a celebrity too, whereas Haney would be happy running his golf schools in relative anonymity.
Farrell Evans (3:52 PM)
Doug,You can't run a golf school in anonymity. These guys are salesman as much as they are teachers.
Keith H (Seattle)
Farrell, FWIW I often prefer watching the ladies in order to learn things. They play the same distance holes and use similar clubs. Watching the PGA Tour is spectacle. They do things very few are capable of doing.
Farrell Evans (3:53 PM)
Most people can't do what Yani Tseng can do with the ball or a handful of other girls. But that's the problem. There aren't enough good players.
who is winning the Open Champ?
Farrell Evans (3:55 PM)
At the British I always go with a no-name guy or at least the poor fella that people don't want to win. Pick any guy from Wales in the field.
Nick (Washington DC)
What courses would you add? Trump International Golf Links?!
Farrell Evans (3:56 PM)
I like the course that they played on the European Tour last week in Ireland. Portrush.
Tom [via mobile]
Haney charges 10 G's a day to attend his golf school. Doesn't exactly scream "anonymity" to me.
Farrell Evans (3:56 PM)
Hey Farrell, while there is clearly a difference between the skill level between male and female players (in driving distance, height on long iron shots) is there any noticeable difference between the two when it comes to short game? Do you think there is a difference in skill level from 100 yards and in?
Farrell Evans (3:57 PM)
Big time. The short games of men are way better than the women's. The women might be straighter off the tee.
Paul (Portland, OR)
Keith H, have you ever watched an LPGA event in person? Those players off the tee are amazing.
Can you talk to the R&A and get Portrush added back to the rotation? Irish Open was a huge success!
Farrell Evans (3:58 PM)
I would love to see that happen.
Haney didn't charge 10K before Tiger either.
Farrell Evans (3:59 PM)
My time is up. I look forward to chatting with you next week from Lytham. I expect a fun and rainy time across the pond. So long until next time.