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September 5, 6:14 PM ET
Chat with Bob Harig

Bob Harig
  (4:00 PM)

Hi everyone. Thanks for participating in this golf chat. Although this is a rare "off week" on the PGA Tour (hasn't happened in about 20 years), there is still plenty to talk about. The Ryder Cup looms next week. The FedEx Cup is still a subject of consternation. Anything and everything related to golf is fair game. Fire away with your questions.

Charlie Goldberg (New York)

Hey Bob, I know I'm a week ahead of myself but every other year, after the PGA Championship, I get to smile and tell myself meaningful golf isn't over. With this said, I'm obviously going to watch every putt of the Ryder Cup but please give me a reason why the US is not going to get killed. I have faith in Phil, Cink, and AK and that's about it. I can't find one thing that tells me the US has any chance of winning. Is there any chance we win?

Bob Harig
  (4:01 PM)

I believe there is an excellent chance for a U.S. victory, simply because that's the nature of the Ryder Cup. Each of the past three Ryder Cups, Europe didn't have a single major champion from that year on the team, but still managed to win. Being an underdog might take some pressure off, and I happen to think that a couple of Paul Azinger's captain's picks could prove to be difference makers. On paper it might not look good, but as we've seen, that has had little bearing in the past.

Scott (Loma Linda, CA)

Instead of having this crazy points system. Why not just go by the money list and give a $10 million bonus to the winner? That seems like the most consistent way to do it. It's crazy that someone wins 2 majors and doesn't even make it to the tour championship.

Bob Harig
  (4:02 PM)

The interesting thing is Padraig Harrington, who won two majors and won't be at the Tour Championship, understands and is fine with it. Playoffs by their nature often eliminate the top dog. That is what makes them intriguing. It seems the players want to maintain the season-long system and then just get a bunch of big-money tournaments at the end. Despite its flaws, the FedEx Cup playoffs have a lot going for them. Improvements can still be made.

Joe New Haven CT

So what was Vijays response for cutting out of st. louis early? I cant find anything about his teleconference yesterday.

Bob Harig
  (4:05 PM)

Singh has caught some grief for declining to speak to reporters or to NBC after his round about the fact that he had all but clinched the FedEx Cup. His reasoning -- given Tuesday in a conference call -- was that Jim Furyk was leading the tournament and if he won, the FedEx Cup wasn't over. First, Furyk was not leading when Singh finished -- Villegas had a two-shot advantage. A Villegas victory would mean Singh clinched the Cup by simply finishing at the Tour Championship. Even if Furyk had won, he would have had to win again at East Lake and Singh still could have won the Cup by finishing in the top 20. Vijay should have saved himself and everyone the grief and stopped to chat for a few minutes. How tough is that?

Bob (Phoenix, AZ)

Bob Regarding the Ryder Cup - I think the US chances hinge on the record of Garcia. If the US can keep him to like 2-2-1 or possibly a losing record, the US wins. If Garcia has a winning record, Europe. I know this is simplistic but Garcia's record in Ryder Cup is amazingly good. What do you think? thanks

Bob Harig
  (4:07 PM)

I think psychologically you might be on to something. Sergio has been a thorn in the U.S. side going back to '99. His record is excellent. However, Sergio could go 5-0 and the U.S. can still win. One player can't do it by himself.

Cosmo (Anytown, USA)

You know how ESPN over-hypes events by starting countdown clocks that lead up the start of a season or a game? Can we start one for when Tiger starts playing again? I think this is one countdown that I would actually be interested in. It seems, without him, that there is a struggle for golf to generate interest from regular sports fans.

Bob Harig
  (4:17 PM)

Well, the problem is, we don't know when he is going to return. I don't think Tiger really knows. I'm sure he'd love to be back in time for the Masters. But does that mean he targets Bay Hill two weeks prior? Doral? The Match Play? Torrey Pines? I have a feeling he'll keep that to himself.

Mike (Chester, NJ)

Have any players surprised you over the last eight weeks? Martin Laird maybe ?

Bob Harig
  (4:21 PM)

Yes, Martin Laird was in position to make the Tour Championship after having to fight for his PGA Tour card: Dudley Hart is another player who has had a strong year after a lot of personal issues last year. He'll be playing in his first Tour Championship.

Ted, The SLC

Has the US Ryder Cup apparel been viewed yet? Are we in for more hideous shirt patterns?

Bob Harig
  (4:22 PM)

Do not know the answer to either of those questions. Looks like we'll have to wait until the first shots are struck.

JB Holmes (Valhalla Driving Range - Kentucky)

Should I get the first shot of the matches next week - just take out the driver, rip one 350 no matter where it goes and get the crowd fired up!!

Bob Harig
  (4:26 PM)

Such a scenario would not surprise me a bit. . . The U.S. should try to exploit any and all advantages it has, and whipping up the home crowd would be one of them.

quentin (wilmington, nc)

Is there a Ryder's Cup for the ladies? If not, why do u think that is?

Bob Harig
  (4:29 PM)

Yes, it's called the Solheim Cup, and it is a copy of the Ryder Cup. It is played between the U.S. and Europe with the U.S. holding a 7-3 lead. The first Solheim Cup was in 1990. Next year's Solheim Cup is Aug. 21-23 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Loaf, Ill.

quentin (wilmington, nc)

Where is the Cup being played and when does it start?

Gary T (San Francisco)

what's been the best Ryder Cup venue?

Bob Harig
  (4:31 PM)

To be quite honest, the Ryder Cup has been played at a lot of ordinary venues on both sides of the Atlantic. It has become all about the money the host course is willing to pay to have it, especially in Europe, It is hard to believe the competition has not been played at a true links venue since 1977 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

Bob (Phoenix, AZ)

Bob - Who do you see as the best fit for Mickelson in both alternate shot and better ball? I have read he wants to play with Kim - makes sense for better ball? But alternate shot, doesn't he need a good balls striker? Boo maybe

Bob Harig
  (4:33 PM)

My opinion, Phil and Anthony Kim need to be split up, but the idea is intriguing. It is not a bad idea to put veterans and rookies together. In that regard, Phil might also do well with Hunter Mahan.

Dale (Louisville)

Is this a planned week off for the Tour? To get everyone ready for the Cup?

Bob Harig
  (4:34 PM)

They did this because the Ryder Cup had been scheduled for years to be played next week, which would have meant four staight FedEx Cup events and then the Ryder Cup. It was viewed as too much. Typically the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup is a week later, which would have allowed for a week after the Tour Championshp -- which was originally scheduled for this week.

Neal (Washington)

Why does it seem like Phil tends to struggle in this event?

Bob Harig
  (4:36 PM)

There is no good explanation for it. He has all the skills. You'd think he would be a great partner in best-ball because he makes a lot of birdies. He can get out of trouble, chip and putt, hit it far.

Marc, Charlotte

Bob in Pheonix has it backwards. You put like minded players together in Fourball. You don't want guys playing from spots they aren't accustomed too.

Bob Harig
  (4:37 PM)

You're thinking of foursomes, which is alternate shot. It is true that it helps to have players playing similar games in this format. But in best-ball (four ball) you play your own ball.

quentin (wilmington, nc)

Does Tiger have a return date targeted and has his absence from the Tour killed ratings?

Bob Harig
  (4:40 PM)

No return date has been noted as of yet. Not sure even Tiger knows. As for ratings, it depends on your perspective. Golf ratings are really no worse than they were when Tiger wasn't around or not playing. They are certainly considerably lower for the events that are used to having him.

quentin (wilmington, nc)

Has Daly ever played in a Cup?

Bob Harig
  (4:40 PM)

No, John Daly won the PGA in 1991 and the British Open in 1995 -- both Ryder Cup years. And he did not make the team nor was he chosen either time.

Marc, Charlotte

Correct, I meant to say Foursomes. Although, why not send your eight best birdie makers out there in Fourball as well. I'd have to think you increase your chance of winning if you make more birdies.

Bob Harig
  (4:42 PM)

This is just one theory, but there is a school of thought that says the Americans do not embrace the format like they should. In other words, they play too much like it's stroke play. In match play, you do need to make a ton of birdies and probably not be concerned about big numbers. You have to figure you are not going to win too many holes with pars or bogeys. To play safe is not going to get you very far.

Erik (LA)

So we won't see any classic venues hosting the Cup? Torrey Pines or Pebble Beach or any of that?

Bob Harig
  (4:46 PM)

I guess it depends on your interpretation of classic venue: Here are the upcoing Ryder Cup venues: 2008 Valhalla, Louisville 2010 Celtic Manor, Newport, Wales 2012 Medinah, IL 2014, Gleneagles, Scotland 2016, Hazeltine National, MN 2018 TBD 2020, Whistling Straits, WI (at least Whistling Straits looks like a links)

Robert

What is the best way to view the Ryder Cup as a spectator with 40,000 people spread out across four holes? How is Valhalla as a spectators golf course

Bob Harig
  (4:47 PM)

It's not easy, when you consider that there are just four matches going on at once. They have limited the number of spectators, and many of them will be in hospitality venues. My guess would be it's better to jump around and try to get a good viewing spot.

Rob (Dallas)

Why isn't more being made of the PGA of America's course selection process for the Ryder Cup? Valhalla a course they own (so they don't have to pay anyone) gets a Ryder Cup that is an absolute joke.

Bob Harig
  (4:49 PM)

There has been a good bit made of it. There were plenty of raised eyebrows. One thing, however, they do like to keep the Ryder Cup in the Eastern time zone, which limits their choices.

Steve

I can think of at least one great, and very exciting course that's hosted the Ryder Cup, the Ocean Course at Kiawah. While it was thought to be maybe too difficult at the time, it has become highly regarded since, and is hosting the PGA in 2012.

Bob Harig
  (4:50 PM)

Very good point, and Kiawah does have a links-like feel. Not that it should be a criteria, but Kiawah was a good venue.

Harris, Boston

It's a shame they never play the cup at a classic course. I would love to see them go at it at Augusta or St. Andrews

Bob Harig
  (4:50 PM)

We can only dream.

quentin (wilmington, nc)

If Vijay hadn't won the first two fed-ex tourneys, would there be as much consternation as there is about the points system? I mean, how often would it occur that the same golfer would win the first two tourneys (outside of Tiger)? Percentages have to be very low, no?

Bob Harig
  (4:51 PM)

It's true that somebody winning the first two is not what was envisioned. If Sergio had won the Barclays -- which he nearly did -- five players would have a very legitimate chance of wininng the FedEx Cup and at least two more would have a mathematical chance. One putt made a big difference.

Rob (Dallas)

So do you think Team USA sends out Perry/Holmes against Garcia/Westwood to kick things off next Friday?

Bob Harig
  (4:52 PM)

It is very possible. The Perry-Holmes pairing is one that many think will happen.

Harris, Boston

Who is in line to be the next captain for the American squad? And do you think Tiger will make an appearance to give his teammates a little bit of a boost?

Bob Harig
  (4:53 PM)

If the PGA of America sticks with its recent form, they will want someone who is in his late 40s and still playing the tour. Davis Love would fall into that category. Fred Couples would have been his Presidents Cup captaincy next year would seem to rule him out.

Bob Harig
  (4:54 PM)

As for the quesiton about Tiger showing up, I really doubt it. I think it would be a huge distraction and I'm guessing he wants no part of that.

quentin (wilmington, nc)

What's up with DL3? Has his game fallen off? I havn't heard much about him lately

Bob Harig
  (4:55 PM)

Davis Love finished outside of the top 144 in the FedEx Cup points, so he didn't qualify for the playoffs. Hence, he has not been playing. He came back slowly this year after an injury at the end of 07.

Harris, Boston

I feel like the previous ryder cup was so much more hyped up than this one is. Are people just not as interested this year?

Bob Harig
  (4:55 PM)

That could just be your perception. Perhaps the American losing streak has people less interested. Or no Tiger? I have a feeling you'll be hearing plenty about it next week.

Bob, Michigan

Do you think Tiger would ever captain a ryder cup team?

Bob Harig
  (4:57 PM)

I don't see why not. All the greats of the game have done it. If he gets picked to be captain in say, 2020 (when he is 44), wonder if he qualifies for the team on points and becomes a playing captain?

Bob, Denver

How many pros can hit a ball straight down the middle of the fairway when asked? Right, all of them. So, when they have a 1-shot lead on 18 and need to hit a ball right down the middle, just nice and easy, they don't?

Bob Harig
  (4:58 PM)

It's called pressure!

Chuck (Long Beach, NY)

Has Ryan Moore been a disappointment so far? Shouldn't he at least be in the same conversation as Kim?

Bob Harig
  (4:59 PM)

Given his amateur record and all the fanfare that came with it, Moore has been on the disappointing side. And since losing in a playoff to Adam Scott earlier this year in Dallas, he has missed six of 12 cuts and has just a single top-10.

Harris, Boston

who was the last playing captain for either side?

Bob Harig
  (5:01 PM)

The last playing captain for the United States was Arnold Palmer in 1963. Dai Rees was the last for Europe (Great Britain & Ireland) in 1961.

Marc, Charlotte

Any news on Westood?

Bob Harig
  (5:02 PM)

If you are referring to his recent illness, I believe Westwood is fine. He skipped a tournament last week.

quentin (wilmington, nc)

Do the players in the Cup get paid?

Bob Harig
  (5:02 PM)

No, they get a small stipend. But they do have $200,000 directed to the charity of their choice in their name.

Bob Harig
  (5:03 PM)

Okay, I'm out of time. Thanks for all the questions. Check in again next week, I'll be chatting from the Ryder Cup. Talk to you then.