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January 13, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Bob Harig

Bob Harig
  (3:59 PM)

Hello, thanks for checking in to chat about golf. We've already got one tournament in the books in 2010, another set to begin. All golf topics are on the table, so please feel free to fire away with your questions about golf. And remember the goal is to do this every Wednesday afternoon.

Tom (Lawrenceville, NJ)

Do u see Tiger making it back to play in the Master's?

Bob Harig
  (4:02 PM)

Tom, it's good to get started with the Tiger questions, because I get them the most and unfortunately I have no earthly idea!I will say what I've been saying: I just do not see him missing a major championship. That is a opinion based on nothing but the importance he has placed on them.But there really has been no true indication as to what is going to happen.

Jason (Missoula/Montana)

You ever get sick of the questions about tiger?

Bob Harig
  (4:03 PM)

Jason, no, because they are understandable. Some people might get tired of hearing or reading about Tiger. But we're talking about an incredibly popular and famous person. He has been bigger than golf for the past decade. It only make sense that there is a ton of interest.

SeanMichael (Kansas City,MO)

Serge and SpiderMan are on my fantasty team this year. Do you think either will contend for titles (let alone a major)? Will his wrist keep the Spaniard down in 2010? 2008 seems to have been a fluke for the Columbian.

Bob Harig
  (4:05 PM)

Sergio's wrist is definitely a concern. He said he tried to rest it and it is still bothering him. I do not think Camilo Villegas was a fluke in 2008 and he certainly has the talent to win. He seems to be like many players of his generation, however: he doesn't putt well. He needs to get that straightened out, obviously. But I certainl expect them both to be in contention. Theyare too good not to be competing for victories.

Chris (Glasgow)

Hi Bob,How good is Martin Laird and whats his potential? Im from Glasgow, same as Martin but until he played Loch Lomond in the summer we never really got to see him in action. Lesser pro's get less tv coverage so this weekend past was the first chance I've really got to see him play a good bit. Was very impressed as I wasn't sure he'd have what it takes to hang with the big guns.

Bob Harig
  (4:07 PM)

Chris, good to have someone checking in from Scotland. Martin Laird plays more over here than he does there. If I'm not mistaken, his Scottish Open appearance last year was the first time he played a professional event in his native country. The fact that he won a U.S tour event speaks well of him, and was a confidence boost. Of course there are a lot of players in that category. It will be intersting to see if Laird can make a run at the European Ryder Cup team through the world points list. Or maybe get close enough for Monty to pick him.

Nelson (DE)

What do you think about Lynn University offering a class on the movie Caddyshack?

Bob Harig
  (4:10 PM)

Nelson, I think it's pretty funny and quite appropriate -- but I'm guessing a lot of parents don't approve. It is not actually a class about the movie, but using the movie to teach various life lessons -- apparently.

Ryan (Atlanta, GA)

Adam Scott got a good win in Australia to end the year. Is he healthy and in a good mind set again? Can we expect a big comeback from him in 2010?

Bob Harig
  (4:11 PM)

Ryan, I think the victory was big for him. It certainly had to give him a shot of confidence. There had been so many doubts, so much negativity. A big comeback? Not sure about that. Gradual success might be more in order.

Jason (Missoula/Montana)

Well in that case about tiger, if he comes back in usual form any chance he pulls off the grand slam? He has dominated every course the majors are played at this year!

Bob Harig
  (4:13 PM)

Jason, I think even if everything were perfect, a Grand Slam is too much to ask. So much has to go right. I agree that at least three of the four major venues are made for him. But he won't win just showing up. And nobody knows where he is right now, let alone if he's been practicing, playing etc.

Steven (Linlithgow)

If Tiger were to stay out for the whole year, who do you believe would benefit the most, in the same way that Padraig Harrington did when Tiger was out with the knee surgery?

Bob Harig
  (4:15 PM)

Steven, I think the easy answer there is Phil Mickelson. He's primed to have a big year anyway, with or without Tiger. Without him, there is a strong possibility he accomplishes a few things he's yet to do, such as player of the year and the money title.

Andrew (WI)

It really seems like the number of young European stars are outnumbering the young US start these days. And that the Euro stars seem to start their career at a younger stage than the US counterparts. Coincidence, or potential long-term problem where young US players really can't get the ball rolling on their careers until their late 20s?

Bob Harig
  (4:16 PM)

Andrew, I'm not so sure it's a bad thing for a player's career to get started later. Sure there are many of examples of players starting young, including Sergio Garcia. But American players tend to go to college first and turn pro in their early 20s. That's not such a bad thing, really.

Vernon (Tupelo, MS)

Any idea if Vijay is fully healthy again?

Bob Harig
  (4:17 PM)

Vernon, he took a long break in the offseason, skipped a tournament in Australia and the Chevron event. Whether or not that is enough time to get fully healthy is unclear, but I'm guessing the break was good. He's playing this week in Hawaii.

Nelson (DE)

Last week I asked if you think any tournament wouldn't want Tiger to play in their event. On the flip side, do you think he's more likely to skip the Accenture Match Play and/or the AT&T National (events he usually plays in) since those sponsors dropped him?

Bob Harig
  (4:19 PM)

Nelson, before the controversy began, I thought there was a chance he'd play at Pebble Beach since the U.S. Open is going to be there. Now there is almost no chance. The sponsorship issue you bring up is one thing. So is the pro-am format. The Match Play is the following week. Given tha he said he is taking an indefinite leave, I would guess those tournaments are out regardless.

Steven (Linlithgow)

Who do you think is the best player to never win a major? I believe it is Monty, but every year that goes by I see Sergio catching up with him for the "honour"

Bob Harig
  (4:20 PM)

Steven, I think it depends on your criteria. Sergio is probably the best current player wihtout a major. But if you go by overall record, Monty makes a strong case. He won the European money title 8 times, more than 30 tournaments, all those great Ryder Cup appearances. And he lost two majors in playoffs.

Nelson (DE)

I apologize: the AT&T National event I meant is the one at Aronimink (formerly at Congresional). Even if he has returned by then, do you think he may skip that event given that AT

Bob Harig
  (4:24 PM)

Nelson, sorry. . . if Tiger is back playing by then, I have a hard time seeing him skip that tournament. Even though he is not going to serve as "host" this year, that is his tournament. It benefits his foundation. If he is playing but doens't play there, it would be mighty awkward.

Joe (Stamford, CT)

Hi Bob. Freddie on the geezer tour. If he's motivated and healthy (always a question for him), can anybody even provide a remote challenge to him until Kenny Perry gets there? I mean, 4 top 10's on the big boy tour last year, none of the over-50's are playing golf like that.

Bob Harig
  (4:26 PM)

Joe, you would think that would be the case, but then I thought that Mark O'Meara and Nick Price would clean up out there and they have one victory between them. It's true that Couples is probably playing better at 50 than they were. Putting is a big factor on the Champions Tour because the courses are not quite as difficult and you do have to put in the work. Many of the players who are successful treat the Champions Tour in the same way as the regular tour.

Henry (Columbus)

Rickie Fowler - believe the hype? It seems every year there is a new hyped rookie, yet those guys don't win the ROY. (Barnes, Moore, Day, Molder). Will he be your pick for ROY?

Bob Harig
  (4:27 PM)

Henry, I think going in you have to pick him. In limited time on the PGA Tour after turning pro, he had a couple of top 10s and nearly won a tournament. Then he got through Q-School. It's pretty impressive. But I think you are right to withold judgment. Plenty of players with lots of hype did not live up to it.

Tom (Cleveland)

What's the weakest part of Ryan Moore's game, could it prevent him from winning a major or one of the premiere tournaments? I love his approach.

Bob Harig
  (4:31 PM)

Tom, I am not sure there is a weakness. He doesn't appear to do anything off-the-charts great, but he isn't really poor at anything, either. Last year he ranked eighth in total driving which is usually a good sign because it means he combines length with accuracy off the tee. And let's face it, he was 31st on the money list, which is not too shabby.

Nelson (DE)

Any word on how Phil Mickelson's wife and mother are doing?

Bob Harig
  (4:33 PM)

Nelson, good question, and I don't have an answer. Phil has been out of site since winning the tournament in China in November. There have been no updates.

Henry (Columbus)

Since I got your pick for ROY, can I get you to give a way too soon prediction on the four majors?

Bob Harig
  (4:35 PM)

Henry, my tournament picking abilities are quite suspect. It's hard enough each week let alone predicting that far in advance. . So I'll say Phil wins the Masters, Harrington wins at Pebble Beach, Tiger comes back and wins the British and Sergio gets his first major at the PGA. That would be quite the year if it happened that way, wouldn't it?

Kyle (Raleigh NC)

Chances that John Daly now becomes a bigger draw with Tiger out?

Bob Harig
  (4:35 PM)

Kyle, I think JD is a pretty big draw anyway. It's one of the reasons he gets so many sponsor exemptions.

Henry (Columbus)

With Tiger sitting out possibly a good portion of the season, do you think his absence (and therefore open up wins for someone else) will result in more multi-tourney winners or more single tourney winners?

Bob Harig
  (4:38 PM)

Henry, could go either way. We could see more players winning tournaments or maybe somebody steps in to win multiple events. I have a feeling it will spread the victories around if he is not back.

Kyle (Raleigh NC)

You sure the sponsor exemptions aren't because of the pants?

Bob Harig
  (4:39 PM)

Kyle, I let that possibility slip my mind.

Kyle (Raleigh NC)

With Tiger out, purses are bound to be lower, right?

Bob Harig
  (4:46 PM)

Kyle, that is not the case, really. Although Tiger is the biggest reason why purses have grown so much in his era, they are also pretty much locked in at the moment. Each tournament has a contract with the PGA Tour and the title sponsor. The only way purses would be lowered is if they were negotiated lower, especially when the new television contracts are put in place after the 2012 season. That is a complicated scenario but it is possible.

SeanMichael (Kansas City, MO)

PEDs in golf: start and end with Tiger (allegedly)?

Bob Harig
  (4:49 PM)

Are you asking if Tiger has taken performance enhancing drugs? I have no knowledge. I do know he has not failed any PGA Tour drug tests since the policy was put in place. And as I wrote last week on ESPN.com (shameless plug, please go find it), Tiger was a staunch supporter of the drug-testing plan. He was unusually outspoken on the issue.

David (Chapel Hill)

There's no such thing as a shameless plug, Carolina v Clemson tonight on ESPN!

Bob Harig
  (4:55 PM)

Hey, this is a golf chat, but since there is no golf on TV tonight. . .

Bob Harig
  (4:59 PM)

Okay, I'm out of questions and out of time. Thanks for participating. Enjoy the golf from Hawaii this weekend and check back next Wednesday to chat some more. Thanks.