Hello, hope everyone enjoyed a very compelling Masters. Plenty to talk about, so please fire away with your golf questions.
We've talked before about Tiger and the new grooves. It's been mentioned that he said he had the new grooves in his bag last year and yet on Sunday we kept hearing about how he hasn't adjusted to the new grooves? Was the Masters his first tournament with them or not?
Brian, Tiger used the conforming grooves last year in his irons but not his wedges. So this year is the first time he has played with the new conforming wedges. However, he worked with them last year. He experimented. So I don't put much into that. Tiger never mentioned it. I think it has more to do with lack of play than the grooves in his wedges.
Phil didn't win during Tiger's absence in '08-'09 until the week Tiger announced his return. This time Phil didn't win during Tiger's absence until his return. Is it possible now that we've seen a shift and Phil actually plays better when Tiger is around? For years it seemed everyone played worse when Tiger was around.
I think you're on to something. If I'm not mistaken, the last three times they've been in the same tournament -- Tour Championship, Singapore, Masters -- Phil has come out on top.
I know Tiger submitted his entry form for the US open today, but any word on when or if he will play before? The memorial probably the soonest?
Jason, there has been no word. But we can speculate. It wouldn't surprise me if he came back in a few weeks at the Quail Hollow Championship or the week after at the Players Championship or both. I'd be surprised if he skipped both. The Memorial makes sense either way as he is defending champion there.
If Tiger were serious about reconnecting with the people and rehabbing his image has he ever thought about bringing back the Buick Open at Warwick Hills? Even if he had to underwrite it himself this would be a great PR and would benefit and area the benefited from greatly and that greatly needs financial support.
Brian, interesting idea but that ship has sailed. Buick has been replaced on the schedule by an event in West Virginia at the Greenbriar.
What is up with Sergio, have the golf gods pulled the football away from him when he's tried to kick it in majors one too many times now and he's afraid to kick it again?
Sergio remains a mystery. He looked like he was sulking at Augusta, like he wasn't into it. Maybe one day he wakes up and realizes the opportunity that is passing him by. It doesn't make sense.
Will Sergio remember that pine stamen that fell on Phil Mickelson's line next time he complains about the Golf Gods?
That was an incredibly bad break for Mickelson, no doubt. There are no trees near that green for 60 yards.
Better chance at US Open this year, Tiger or Phil?
I like both of their chances, honestly. Both have won there, Phil more recently in the AT&T tournament. And as Phil proved at the Masters, his form going in doesn't matter much if he's comfortable with the venue.
Tom Watson received an invite to the US Open, and he desirved it, any chance Fred Couples receives one?
Brian, I would think that we'd have heard by now. Three is the historical signficance involved with Watson, as well. I wouldn't be surprised if Couples made it into the field through sectional qualifying.
Phil mentioned that a great shot is when you pull it off and a smart shot is when you don't have the guts to go for it. Doesn't this seem to sum up the players younger than Tiger? They play not to lose and thus don't win with any regularity. It seems they would rather finish in the middle of the pack than risk being the next Mickelson at Winged Foot (have to answer tough questions), stick their neck out and try to win.
This is an age old issue on the PGA Tour, going back to the days when players could make a great living with one good finish and set themselves up for life with one good year. You'd like to think that winning means more than money, but for a young player, perhaps positioning himself means more than taking a chance. I think it's too broad a statement to say this about all young players, but there is a lesson to be learned -- sometimes -- from Mickelson.
I know that They do not play Golf in the Winter Months, But Has there ever been a Snowstorm during the Scheduled PGA Tour Event?
They do have tournaments in the winter, just usually not at places where it snows. There has been snow in Greensboro when the event was played in the spring and at the Texas Open way back when it was played in the spring.
Which PGA Golf Tournament ever was so hot that the Golfers almost Passed out?
I'm sure there have been a bunch of them, but the most talked about is the 1964 U.S. Open, where Ken Venturi nearly passed out on his way to victory. Back then they played 36 holes on the final day, a rule that was changed the next year.
Cink is ranked #24 and Glover is #27 in the world now. In 2008 the US Open paired the top 12 players together (1-3, 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12). Assuming Glover or Cink don't jump up (as they will be paied together) can we expect this to happen again this year?
I think that was a one-time deal by the USGA. Not sure what they will do, although they do seem to take some pleasure in the tee time groupings.
Where do you think that Rickie Fowler will finish on the money list? Also, any chance that he wins at Hilton Head this week? I really like his swagger.
Just a guess, but I think Fowler will finish in the top 30 on the money list. Whether he wins this week is a huge leap. He's certainly got the ability.
Bob, what is Pebble Beach playing to at the US Open? 70,71? Also, what do you see as a possible winning score this year at the House That Clint Built. Could even par get it down, or will a nicer tamer US Open break out.
Tony, Pebble will be Par-71 for the Open. It usually plays to par-72 but the second hole has been converted from a par-5 to a par-4.As to winning score. . . they've actually made the course a bit tougher in some ways by bringing some of the coastal hole fairways closer to the water.As you know, Tiger was 12 under par the last time, the only player to break par. So it's not a stretch to think that the winning score could be around par, assuming someone doesn't go crazy like Tiger did in 2000.
Bob, If distance was taken out of the game of golf would it be fair to think Tom Watson would still be one of the better players week in and week out on the PGA? Is it fair to say he is arguably the best ball striker in the world?
It is certainly a topic worthy of discussion. There is no doubt that Watson remains a world-class ball striker. I remember a conversation with Padraig Harrington last year and he brought it up .. that he was practicing on the range at the 2008 British Open at Royal Birkdale. He didn't know who was hitting balls next to him but the sounds of the shots caught his attention. He looked and it was Watson. Harrington was amazed at how solid Watson was hitting the ball. . . Distance and putting are what stand in the way.
US Open on the West Coast....Phil....Tiger....Thursday night, paired together....there's no way the USGA doesn't do this, right?
The problem is that then they would play together Friday morning. . .My guess is they will be on opposite ends of the draw. Then they can maximize Phil and Tiger, with each on in prime time one day.
Bob, In refrence to the question about young players not taking risks. I think the exact reason Anthony Kim has not run away with the last to masters is that he goes for it to much. The guy is a birdie machine and the bogeys is what kept him from winning.
Yes, but would he make as many birdies if he didn't take the risks? There is a fine line. I think he said it himself that he often tries to force it. You take the risks when they are worth taking. Figuring that out is the key.
It's been announced by a competing sports network that Tiger and Elin are working on the divorce as we speak, do you have any news or insight?
Lots of rumors, but nothing official. Until it comes from one of the parties, I'm sure you'll see and hear a lot of speculation.
Who is your pick for the tournament this weekend? I always liked Harbour Town. Any sleepers to look out for?
I make picks every week and if you've seen them, you know my batting average is not too good.. That said, I went with Jim Furyk. I believe his missed cut at the Masters was a fluke. And for a sleeper I went with Boo Weekley, who has played poorly this year but won twice at Harbour Town.
Bob, what does it say about a lot of the PGA tour players, if a guy as rusty as Tiger was beaten by only 4 players at the Masters? or is this about Tiger's skill level
Pam, I think it is a little of both. Certainly it doesn't reflect too well on the rest of the tour that a guy who had not played for five months could beat all but 4 players. But it also speaks to Tiger's skill, competitiveness and determination. I doubt anyone else could have come into the Masters without having played a tournament all year and performed as well.
Is it possible that the piece of pollen that fell in Phiol's line was thrown from the galary? Faldo seemed shocked that it could even travel that far from the fairway trees....
I highly doubt it. If someone threw it, what are the odds that it would land where it did?
Bob, I dont think Tiger would enter a tournament rusty. His game was ready to play in the masters and he was playing to win.
I am sure he was playing to win, but you can't tell me his game wasn't rusty. There is nothing to simulate competition. He hadn't played in a tournament since November. Certainly Tiger is better at this than anyone. He's come back from long layoffs before. But there is a reason why every player in the field tried to come up with a scheduling game plan going in.
I am surprised tiger got 4th at the masters after having that long break off.
I would not have been surprised if he had won or missed the cut. But it is remarkable that he did so well, given his time away. That's not the way you draw it up.
Any Idea what Mickelson might have for the Masters dinner next year?
Hopefully it won't be the Krispy Kreme donuts he was getting on Monday morning -- in his green jacket no less. Phil going through the drive thru was photographed by an employee. It appeared he was with his daughter. Doubt that will be on the menu.
What do you think will be Tiger's next tournament?
I am guessing Quail Hollow, but that is all it is, a guess. If not there, I have a hard time believing he skips the Players Championship.
I agree Blake but it doesn't help ESPN any to admit that Tiger didn't actually invent golf and therefore him losing was just coincidence not the fact that he could actually be outplayed
Come again?He was outplayed, obviously. He lost by five strokes.But the discussion was his ability to even compete given the fact that he had missed the entire year.
are golfers more motivated to beat tiger now?
I don't think so. Their motivation stems from within. Most of them, I would guess, want to win, period.
What was up with fred couples golf shoes? They looked like an old pair of K-Swiss from the 70's?
He says they are more comfortable, make the long walk easier. Not much traction, but he appears to be doing fine with them.
Thoughts on Lee Westwood? How many close calls before we start creeping up with the "can't win the big one" label?
Andrew, Westwood had a tough one against Mickelson on Sunday. But his 71 was the highest of anybody in the top 9. It was a day he needed to shoot in the 60s. That's three straight top-3s in the majors for him.
He may have not had tournament competition but it isnt like he flew in masters week and dusted off the clubs either. There were reports he had been in Augusta for almost three weeks. Any profesional given three weeks at a course should be able to perform rather well is all I'm saying
Nobody said he hadn't practiced. We've all been writing that he had been practicing for a month, that he had been to Augusta for four days before tournament week. Certainly being on site is a help. But a month of practice when everybody else has been playing tournaments is not typically the way these guys go about it. Nobody would recommend it.
Who wins the Ryder cup? I gotta go with the Americans on this one
Wow, we're still nearly 6 months away from the Ryder Cup, but it's shaping up to be very interesting, simply because so many Europeans occupy the top spots in the world. It's a home game for Europe so the advantage has to go overseas, doesn't it?
Okay, I am out of time. Thanks for all the great questions and for your participation. Check back again next week and enjoy the low-key Verizon Heritage this weekend.