Chat with Bob Harig
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET!
Bob Harig (3:02 PM)
Hey, thanks for checking in. Plenty to discuss in the world of golf. What did you think of Martin Kaymer? Pinehurst? Rory's Ireland decision? Tiger hitting balls? Fire away please.
Ed (Queens Village)
How impressive was Martin Kaymer in runaway win at US Open?
Bob Harig (3:03 PM)
Very! It's hard to overstate what he did. The opening 65s. Sleeping on the lead. Playing a very difficult course 8 strokes better than anyone else. Impressive
Hi Bob - Have you noticed the subtle change in ranking that has occurred now that the tour has gone to Fed Ex cup points rather than money list to determine the Top 125? As an example, in past years, Mike Weir would be virtually assured of retaining his card based solely on his second place finish. This year, however, his 300 points for second place currently would put him right at 125th on the list; given the number of remaining tournaments there is no chance 300 points stays within the top 125. Do you know if this was a conscious decision by the Tour to reward consistency over perhaps one time fluke high finishes? Or is it merely a unintended consequence of switching to points from money earned?
Bob Harig (3:06 PM)
Actually, both FedEx Cup points and money are used to determine a player's status for eligibility the following year. But you must be in the top 125 in points to participate in the playoffs. That happened to Padraig Harrington last year. He was in top 125 in money but not points.
Hi Bob - Does Kaymer winning the US Open in such dominating fashion foretell future success? It seems that most guys in the past that have run away with majors, have had hall of fame careers
Bob Harig (3:07 PM)
It could. He certainly seems to have found something here recently, and that had to be a huge confidene boost for him.
JY (TO) [via mobile]
With Portrush now in play for The Open, any chance another locale in Scotland gets a shot at the rotation? North Berick? Castle Stuart? Royal Abeerdeen?
Bob Harig (3:09 PM)
My guess would be no. North Berwick does not have the ability to host an Open. Castle Stuart and Royal Aberdeen are Scottish Open venues, but again, not sure they are Open worthy.
Patrick (Pittsburgh, PA)
I saw in Compton's chat earlier he isn't in the Open Championship. I thought runner-up in any major got you into the next four? When did that change?
Bob Harig (3:11 PM)
The Open does not exempt players based on high finishes in the majors -- unless you win the major. It has a long list of exemption categories including top 50 in the world by a certain date. It also has several qualifying events leading up to the Championship. In the U.S., those are the Quicken Loans, Greenbrier and John Deere. The top 4 finishes in the first two tournaments among those not exempt (you have to be tpo 12 in the tournament) get in. John Deere has one spot. The French and Scottish Opens also give places.
Jake (MA [via mobile]
Any chance Tiger plays his tourney next week?
Bob Harig (3:13 PM)
That is the big mystery at the moment. If I had to put money on it, I'd say no. It seems too soon. But that is only a guess. If it weren't the touranament that benefits his foundation, I doubt we'd even be discussing it.
WHY... Why does ESPN, the major networks, and the Golf Channel believe that the viewer only wants to watch putting .... at the President's Cup, the Ryder Cup, and any major... we are FORCE FED a 20-1 ratio of putting to actual tee shots, irons from the fairway... and then if we do get to see one of these shots... it is either from Mickelson Kucher or Tiger when healthy... you feed us a steady diet of one or two players... I am here to say enough... we do not get the luxury of watching all the shots like you all... we want to see them and other players... not just the select few you deem worthy.
Bob Harig (3:15 PM)
First, I have nothing to do with it! Second, I'm not sure your percentage breakdown is correct. It seems anecdotal. For the record, every one of Kaymer's 69 shots was shown on Sunday. Now is their more putting shown? I can see how that would be the case. That is where the hole concludes. You want to see how it finishes up... And as for me, I certainly don't get to see all the shots. If I'm with a specific group ,that is all I see.
Tom (Verona, WI)
Good afternoon, Bob! What has the USGA learned from this US Open? It seemed like not much happened on the weekend.
Bob Harig (3:16 PM)
I"m not sure they are bothered by that. They set it up tough ,and one guy shined. Take out Kaymer and that would have bee some tournament. It's just that one guy was so good.
Hi Bob. Thanks for taking time to chat. Know USGA attempting to get same shot values, do you think #2 will set harder or easier for Women's Open this week? Softer, slower greens?
Bob Harig (3:17 PM)
Glad to do it, thanks for the questions.I'm not sure it will be set up harder, but it might play harder. Obviously the tees are moved up considerably. But those waste areas are not easy to play from. The greens are really tough. Should be interesting to see how they fare.
Brad Ebersole (New Hope, PA )
Do you think Tiger Woods will make it back before the end of the year and if he does what do you think about his chances at a Captain's pick for the Rider Cup.
Bob Harig (3:19 PM)
Obviously getting a lot of questions about Tiger and his status, so forgive me if I don't answer your specifically or all of them.As it pertains to his return: it appears it will be sooner than I thought. I figured PGA was earliest. But it's possible to see him before then. People are wondering about next week. I think that's too soon but I wouldn't be surprisd to see him at the Open.The Ryder Cup is all about getting in a few tournaments and showing that he is fit.
If Tiger misses the Open what are his chances at getting in the fedex playoffs? I think he'll only have the Bridgestone and PGA left to play.
Bob Harig (3:20 PM)
Very poor. He'd likely only have two or three tournaments to qualify, and would he even want to play two or three in a row. He'd need to get in the top 125. If he has a high finish or two that could be accomplished, but it is somewhat unrealistic.
I know its good thing that Donald Trump has put money into golf, and 'fixing "up courses. But hes also whats bad with golf. His attitude towards Pinehurst disgust me. you and i usually dont agree but im glad you tweeted he doesnt get it
Bob Harig (3:22 PM)
The Donald is a point-misser on this one. I understand Pinehurst did not "look good," to many but it's not supposed to look pristine. It is supposed to look natural, and that has been lost in this quest to make everything in golf look perfect. That should not be the goal. It is unrealistic -- and expensive. In the UK, they let Mother Nature take care of.
Hi Bob,How does playing privileges work on the web.com tour after the top 75 that play in the season ending tournaments? How many are fully exempt for the next year, beyond #75? Any of them?
Bob Harig (3:25 PM)
I don't think any beyond those 75 are fully exempt. 76-100 have conditional status
Compton is a good story, but cmon he is a 30 something journey man on the tour and all of the sudden because he finished 2nd in the US Open and he being treated as the golfing superstar
Bob Harig (3:26 PM)
I'm only posting this to politely show how much you are missing the point. A journeyman? He's lucky to be alive, let alone playing golf at a high level. What he accomplished is extraordinary. Be real.
Woody (Washington, DC)
Why don't U.S. Open earnings count toward the Web.com Tour money list for players with status on that Tour? It is understandable that money would not count from regular PGA Tour events because Web.com players have almost no chance to play in them. On the other hand, every player with Web.com Tour status had an equal opportunity to qualify for the U.S. Open. Suspecting that almost all of them indeed tried to qualify, why not reward those who did qualify and make the cut by making the money count toward The 25? At a minimum, give Web.com Tour players the option to pick the money list where they'd like the money to count -- Web.com or PGA. I'd bet Cody Gribble, Daniel Berger, Zac Blair, Fran Quinn, Nicholas Lindheim, Alex Cejka, and Clayton Rask would like that option.
Bob Harig (3:27 PM)
Not sure that would work very well. The money is so out of proportion to what they play for on their tour. Having a good week in the U.S. Open could help them gain PGA Tour status, but would put things out of whack on the Web.com.
Patrick (Pittsburgh, PA)
Bob, Rory said that Kaymer's performance was more impressive than his at Congressional in '11. That being said, how would you rank Tiger in 2000, aforementioned Rory in 2011, and Kaymer this year?
Bob Harig (3:28 PM)
Tiger's in 2000 was the best. He won by 15 shots. Nobody else broke par, the next best score was 3 over. Kaymer is next because he won by 8. Rory third. He set a scoring record, but a bunch of players were under par at Congressional.
What are your thoughts on the US Open fans actions with Kaymer. Were they really cheering his mistakes? Bad form by the US Open fans?
Bob Harig (3:28 PM)
There was some bad form, yes. It's unfortunate.
When it comes to scoring records, it seems like everyone is overly-obsessed with the number rather than the score relative to par. For example: Stuart Appelby's 59 came on a par 70 course which means he shot -11, and Jim Furyk's 59 came on a par 71 which means he shot 12. Same thing goes with Kaymer setting the 36 hole scoring record at Pinehurst...Pinehurst is a par 70 and Kaymer shot 130, 10 under par. Rory shot 131 after 36 holes at Congressional which put him at -11. Is that not more impressive? Shouldn't Rory have that record?
Bob Harig (3:30 PM)
It's based on total score. Par doesn't really matter. You still have to post the number. At Pinehurst, you had several par-4s that could have easily been par-5s. In that case, if he shoots the same number on the card, he's lower to par.
What's your feeling on Tiger coming back at the British Open? Would it be a good move or do you think he should wait a bit longer?
Bob Harig (3:31 PM)
He should only come back there if he is completely healthy, has had no setbacks, and feels he can be competitive. I'm not sure a major is where you should come back to chip off rush or work your way back into it. And that's typically not been Tiger's style.
I said he is a good story, great story whatever you want to say but where was all the media coverage before on him. I'm just making a point that it has been a little overblown. Its not like the US Open was his 1st tournament back.
Bob Harig (3:32 PM)
There's been plenty of media coverage on him before. Lots of it. I was there when he went to the first stage of qualifying for the PGA Tour in 2008 just six months after he had the heart transplant. And when he played at Disney that year. The guy needed a cart at the time. Golf is hard enough without all the issues he endures. And to perform like that in the U.S. Open? It's hardly overblown.
Keith H (Seattle)
I think Kaymer might be getting short shrift by many pundits. If Tiger or Rory had dusted the field like Kaymer did, it's "a tribute to excellence." Since Kaymer did it, it's "boring." If you can take out the field like Kaymer did, to me that's excellence regardless of who does it.
Bob Harig (3:32 PM)
Hard to disagree.
My friend and i had a debate, whos the best American ever at the Bristish Open? I say Tom Watson with 5 wins, he says Jack with cause he was a factor for almost 2 decades. thoughts?
Bob Harig (3:34 PM)
It's a really good debate. Jack's record over 20 years was amazing. He had a stretch of 14 top 10s in 15 years or thereabouts. But Watson did win 5 to Jack's 3 -- and beat him at the Duel in the Sun.
doug g (san antonio)
Bob-rough year for me as a fan with Phil not contending, and Stricker hardly playing. Any reason to think Phil will be in the mix in defending his Scottish and British open's? Also, it was difficult to for me to get pumped Sunday because it was just not close (Kaymer dominates)..do you think most would have liked 5-6 guys within 1-3 strokes? Thanks Bob
Bob Harig (3:34 PM)
Phil's got to figure out his putting. He is inconsistent by nature but this has been an odd year. And no doubt, a tighter finish would have been preferred at the U.S. Open.
I think Rory made the smart and easy(er) choice by playing for Ireland. But am I the only who bugged by the number of people calling it the right choice? When it comes to someone else's nationality decision don't think their is a right or wrong..
Bob Harig (3:36 PM)
I don't think there was a right or wrong choice. It was up to him. I could see very much why he might have wanted to play for the UK. Northern Ireland is PART OF THE UK. It was an unfair position to be put in.
If Tiger is given the all clear to play by his medical people, why should he not play? I mean watching him play poorly and missing the cut is frustrating, but not sure our frustration should enter into his play or not play decision.
Bob Harig (3:37 PM)
It enters into his decision. He doesn't want to play poorly. He wants to be ready to compete. And being cleared to play doesn't mean he is ready to play.
I would assume that right now Kaymer would be POY, over Bubba & Jimmy Walker
Bob Harig (3:37 PM)
probably a good way to look at it for now. Kaymer and Bubba have two wins apiece, and they trump Walker's 3 because they each have a major. The Players tips it to Kaymer.
If you're Tom Watson what do you do with Phil - if he keeps playing like this? Really hard to take a guy who while healthy hasn't managed a top finish all year
Bob Harig (3:40 PM)
True, but given his history, I think you pick him. He's not been awful and there's a lot of golf left. And especially if he is in the top 12 in points.
There was an 11 year old that was prevented from playing in the US Women's Open? Should the PGA Tour have a more definitive age limit with issues like this. No one could argue that 19 year old Jordan Spieth was ready but should there be a real age limit in golf? There is one in other sports. Thank you.
Bob Harig (3:41 PM)
There is an age limit on both the PGA Tour and LPGA Tours for membership. That's different from Lucy Liu who qualified as an 11 year old. She isn't going to be playing the tour.
Brad (Philadelphia )
Tiger Woods chances at a Captain's pick for the upcoming ryder cup?
Bob Harig (3:41 PM)
He needs to have played in a few tournaments to be picked, in my opinion.
Scott (San Diego)
Looks official official that the Match Play is out of Southern Arizona now that a Champions Event is going to be in town. Is this the end of Match Play on the PGA Tour?
Bob Harig (3:42 PM)
Dont' think it's the end. They need a sponsor Question is where will it fall on the schedule? Could very well be skipping 2015.
Well there are other cases I could have brought up...Pinehurst is a bit of an outlier because of its ridiculous length, but I see your point. 59 on a 72-track just seems much more impressive to me than a 59 on a 70. Both courses are 18 holes, only on a par 72 you need to make two more birdies than on a par 70.
Bob Harig (3:43 PM)
Right, but on a par-70 you have 2 less par-5s, so how is it different? You still had to put the number on the card. Par is a mindset.. For most of us, there would have been 6 par-5s at Pinehurst, not 2.
Given how poorly a lot of the big name Americans are playing I think Watson picking TW is somewhat reasonable. But if he doesn't make play-offs he'll have a 6 week lay-off, after only have playing a couple events. If I'm Watson that would bother me.
Bob Harig (3:44 PM)
No doubt. That's the problem. The playoffs are a 4-week stretch followed by an off week prior to the Ryder Cup. Unless he plays in Europe, that's a lot of time to miss. Also wonder if Tiger wants to deal with cold, possibly rainy weather in Scotland.
Hey Bob, do you think Hoylake will play firm and fast like '06, or will we see a slower course like Royal St George's in '11?
Bob Harig (3:44 PM)
All depends on the weather! Hoylake was dry and baked out in 2006. It was warm, the course fiery. They hadn't had much rain. It's hard to envision it will be the same, but the R&A lets weather dictate.
Sagar [via mobile]
If you got 50-1 odds on tiger winning a major in 2014, would you take that bet?
Bob Harig (3:46 PM)
A small wager? Perhaps. But realistically, let's be honest. It's more an issue if he plays, or is able to compete than winning at this point.
Abbeylaca (Beverly Hills, CA)
Will Mickelson ever win a US Open to complete the career grand slam?
Bob Harig (3:48 PM)
I think it's getting less likely. He's 44. Oldest U.S. Open winner ever was 45. But Phil is not going to give up and my guess is he'll make it interesting.
do you see Tiger changing his game at all after surgery? Maybe more finesse than power? Can he play that way, win that way?
Bob Harig (3:49 PM)
It'll be interesting to see. Does the back surgery mean he has to make any concessions?
Bob, Is Chamblee still working for TGC? Not a negative peep or article from this guy about anyone in particular in months. No national press or self promoting talk shows telling all the little people how brilliant he thinks he is...How happy do you think old Brandel is today? Tiger is almost back and now Chamblee can be relevant and vindictive again...............
Bob Harig (3:50 PM)
I'm not sure I agree with what you said about him, but yes Brandel is still working and commentating for Golf Channel.
Drama-less majors this year so far. Is this the future of golf post Tiger/Phil or are we building toward a new era with potentially Kaymer/McIlroy/Rose (et al) new rivalries beginning?
Bob Harig (3:51 PM)
It would be good if those guys or others could pick off multiple tournament victories and majors. Rivalries and star players are necessary in golf.
If Phil is never to win the US Open, do you believe he can be considered as ALL time great. It IMO is the greatest challenge in Golf.
Bob Harig (3:52 PM)
He is among the all-time greats already. 5 majors, 42 PGA Tour wins. Now it's where you rank him. He's not top 5, but you could argue top 10. Certainly top 15. His Open win last year pushed him up a few notches. And the fact that he's done most of his winning during the Tiger era is another factor for which he deserves more credit.
Brian (Philly) [via mobile]
Since Mike Davis took over the us open setup, we've seen 2 blowouts in a relatively short number of years vs only 1 that I can remember before that (Tiger 2000). Is there something about his philosophy that might make the event more prone to blowouts?
Bob Harig (3:53 PM)
I really don't think it's because of Mike Davis. Congressional was all due to the weather. It was much softer than they wanted. Pinehurst was a bit of an aberration. You had one guy just execute almost perfectly.
Bob (San Diego, CA)
Watson said Tiger was a no brainer for Ryder Cup- if healthy so he does have wiggle; we know Phil is also a no-brainer unless he is hurt - - so thats really two open spots. Do you agree?
Bob Harig (3:54 PM)
There are 3 captain's picks and Phil still has plenty of time to make the team on his own. Watson said if healthy ,but I'm guessing he also wants to see that he can play. It'll be interesting if Tiger gets back for a few tournaments.
Bob, how crazy will it be at Tiger's first tournament back ?! I remember 2009 and match play was pretty crazy with the media
Bob Harig (3:55 PM)
It'll be off the charts I'm sure -- probably for the rest of the year, regardless of when he returns.
Who do you like at the women's open this week?
Bob Harig (3:56 PM)
I'll go out on a limb. Stacy Lewis
Keith H (Seattle)
I haven't had a chance yet, but have you checked out Chambers Bay? Between Pinehurst this year and full blown links next year, the USGA is making some interesting (anything but boring) choices.
Bob Harig (3:57 PM)
Have no seen Chambers Bay. USGA going to some new places in the next few years.
Patrick (Pittsburgh, PA)
Bob, do you a get sense that some were disappointed by Kaymer's domination? If it was Tiger doing that, everyone makes it must-see television, but, when another former World No. 1 does it, it's "boring"?
Bob Harig (3:58 PM)
There is no question there was disappointment where there should probably be amazement. It's not his fault. He's doing what he has to do. It was an impressive performance.
Abbeylaca (Beverly Hills, CA)
What are the odds we might see Tiger at The Open?
Bob Harig (3:59 PM)
Think they are looking better for the Open. Wasn't sure if that would be the case a few weeks ago. Now a matter of him progressing and not having setbacks. Open still a month away.
Bob Harig (4:00 PM)
Okay folks, I'm out of time. Thanks for all the great questions. Appreciate the banter. Check me out on Twitter @bobharig if I missed something, or if you'd like to engage in some other golf topic. Enjoy the golf.
On Tigers legacy, you think that fact he hasn't won a major yet coming from behind will be included amongst debate? Everyone always talks about his dominance, and holding leads, which is great, but he doesn't have that legendary charge like Mickelson at Muirfield or Jack or Arnold had
Bob Harig (4:04 PM)
I'll throw this in as it came in as I was signing off. To be honest, I think that debate is silly. The fact that he was ahead or tied in 14 majors is incredible. How could his legacy be lessened because he didn't trail after 3 rounds? And let's be clear, in many of those final round -- U.S. Open in 2008 for example, he trailed. He was tied at 05 Masters and won in a playoff. So he did come back some times because he lost a lead over the course of a final round. I think it is simply more amazing that he got out front in all of them to begin with.Okay, thanks for a good debate question.Take care all.