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March 18, 3:00 PM ET
Chat with Bob Harig

Bob Harig
  (2:49 PM)

Hey, thanks for checking into this golf chat, a day later than usual. I'm getting started a few minutes early because I might have to check out early. So between glances at the hardwood, feel free to send along any golf-related questions. I'll answer as many as can. Fire away.

Brad Ford (Farmington, CT)

When Tiger gets back and answers questions for the first time, what will your question be?

Bob Harig
  (2:51 PM)

Brad, I've been asked this a bunch, and obviously it really depends on the tenor of the proceedings. There are obviously many things we'd like to ask. Here's one: why did it take you so long to respond? I'm still just puzzled why nothing was said for so long after this first started.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

I've long said that golf has a lack of television coverage issue. How dissapointing will it be if Tiger gets a morning tee time at Augusta and the most anticipated round in golf history, is seen by no one? I know Augusta sets the TV hours but this problem would exist if this were the Bay Hill tourney as well.

Bob Harig
  (2:53 PM)

Brian, you make an excellent point here. The Masters telecast does not come on the air until 4 p.m. ET -- although there are now several web components that allow for various aspects of viewing on your computer. My guess -- and this is just a guess -- is that Tiger will somehow be in the Thursday TV window.If this were a PGA Tour event, you could almost bet that the tour would allow Golf Channel to break in to show his opening tee shot and parts of his round. Things are much different at Augusta. It will be interesting to see what tee time he gets.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

When will we see a female golfer ever play on the PGA Tour with the Men?

Bob Harig
  (2:55 PM)

Chris, as you know Annika Sorenstam played at Colonial in 2003 and Michelle Wie has played in several PGA Tour events. The fad has very much subsided. The backlash against Wie has taken the glow of such a pursuit.

Chioke Hassan (Baltimore,Md)

Dear BobWith the Master just around the corner. I have been wondering what the Obama is saying about Augusta National's All Male Policy. Is he going to protest the Masters like Martha Burke?

Bob Harig
  (2:57 PM)

I am not sure that President Obama has said anything on the matter, and frankly doubt he would. He's got enough problems. And just to be clear: Augusta has no female members, but it does not restrict women from the club our the course.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

Will the tour make Tiger play 15 events this year?

Bob Harig
  (2:59 PM)

Brian, the simple answer is no. They can't make him do anything. He can play as few as he wants. Even if he does not play 15, Tiger will be able to do what he wants next year. He's exempt for the majors and the World Golf Championship events. He'd certainly get sponsor invites to any other tournaments he wants to play. And after this year, his 15th on tour, he becomes a lifetime member of the PGA Tour because he has more than 20 wins. He can basically plays as much or little as he wants. There are some perks that go alone with playing 15 -- which I'm guessing don't mean that much to him.

Patrick (Hanover)

I have this argument with my Tiger friends all the time. They say the Masters need Tiger more than Tiger needs the Masters. I say the latter as certianly TV ratings are better with Tiger winning or in contention but the Masters is ususally the most watched golf even of the year no matter who wins. Your thoughts.

Bob Harig
  (3:02 PM)

Patrick, I agree with you. The Masters might be the one tournament that would have been fine without Tiger. Sure, it wants good TV ratings. But it sells the same number of tickets whether he is there or not. And sponsors are paying very little as it is, due to the control that Augusta has on CBS, limiting air time. It's not like they can go sell more ads. I'm sure the Masters likes having him for the extra attention it will bring. But as you say, the Masters is alll but certain to be the highest-rated golf telecast of the year regardless.

GJ (Scranton)

Any word, rumors, or thoughts on who will be sponsoring Tiger's bag when he returns?

Bob Harig
  (3:04 PM)

That's a good one. AT&T is gone. Maybe Nike takes over a more prominent role on his bag?

Brian (Westborough, MA)

Which has a better chance of happening, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer deciding on Masters thursday to not only finish out their cerimonial first tee shots but to play all 72 holes and finish in a tie for the lead, or, Nike coming out with another Hokey ad about their other players winning and rejoicing in Tiger's absense, winning numerous events only to have their bubble burst as Tiger walks into a locker room showing/celebrating he is back.

Bob Harig
  (3:04 PM)

Brian, surely you jest.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

Where do you see Tiger playing his second (and perhaps the first tournament where the press and gallery gets a free shot at him) tournament? Qual Hollow?

Bob Harig
  (3:07 PM)

Quail Hollow is certainly a logical choice. It is where he has made all of his post-Masters starts recently. I don't see him going to places where he usually does not go at this point. After the Masters, it's Heritage and New Orleans before Quail Hollow. I don't see those places coming on board this year. Maybe he skips Quail Hollow and comes back at the Players Championship.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

I've always viewed Phil Mickelson as a feel player as opposed to a technical player. It seems that he has almost transformed into a technical player now (especially with the putter). Do you agree and do you think this is a good thing? It seems to me that when he is going bad now, he focuses too much on the technique. Also he seemed to be missing a lot of putts right and it appeared he was leaving putter open even before takeaway. I think sometimes he out thinks himself.

Bob Harig
  (3:13 PM)

I am certainly not enough of an expert on the intracacies of Phil's -- or anyone's -- golf methods. I would suggest that Phil has perhaps out thought himself in some instances. But it is hard to argue with his approach in general as, let's face it, the guy has been pretty successful.

Matt (Pennsylvania)

With the way Tom Watson has been playing lately and I mean not just at turnberry, do you think he has any chance of even making the cut at the masters or possibly contending.

Bob Harig
  (3:23 PM)

I certainly think he can make the cut. Contending is another matter. Watson himself has said the course has gotten too long for him.

Ryan (Charleston, SC)

What do you think would create more buzz: Tiger winning The Masters or missing the cut?

Bob Harig
  (3:31 PM)

I don't think there is any question: Tiger winning the Masters would create incredible buzz. It would be a big topic of conversation if he missed the cut, too. But for him to even be in contnetion at Augusta would be a huge deal.

beveledge (Victoria BC)

So... in light of the Tiger text messages released recently, do you think there's any chance that he cancels on the Masters? This stuff will be coming out of the woodwork forever...

Bob Harig
  (3:35 PM)

A good bit of the stuff that has come out has never been confirmed. It has been acknowledged by only one side, one party, sometimes for financial gain. That doesn't mean it isn't true. It very well could be. But so many of the stories have not been verified. People make a lot of things up or embellish when money is involved. I'm not speaking to any specific example, just in general. So I don't think he'll bail on the Masters. Getting back to golf is the best way to put all this stuff behind him.

Bob Harig
  (3:45 PM)

Okay folks, I'm out of time and questions. Thanks for your participation. See you next time.