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May 5, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Bob Harig

Bob Harig
  (4:00 PM)

Hello, thanks for joining this golf chat where we're checking in from the Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. As has been the case recently, there is plenty to discuss in the golf world. Feel free to fire away with your questions.

morgan (raleigh nc)

Haney/Woods? rumors have them parting ways...can you clear that up?

Bob Harig
  (4:01 PM)

Morgan, so far there is no truth to the rumors. Tiger said this week he is working with Hank. Lots of speculation on this topic, but let's remember it's been only two tournaments since Tiger returned.

Brian (Westborough)

Why is Tiger Woods not credited with a MC at the 1998 Pebble Beach Nat'l Pro Am. I know it was weather plagued and played over 7 months, but he shot 148 over 2 rounds, WD (which means his cut streak went to 0), and would have needed to shoot a 67 just to make the cut. There was a cut that year for money purposes even though the tourney was 54 holes. Does all this stem from the fact that Tiger does not consider it a MC and everyone goes along with that?

Bob Harig
  (4:04 PM)

Brian, you bring up an interesting topic.My issue with the Tiger cut record is the fact that his record-leading streak of 142 straight began with the tournament following Pebble Beach on the 1998 schedule. So doesn't that imply that he missed the cut in the previous event?By the tour's reasoning, a withdrawal is not the same as a missed cut and the circumstances surrouding that withdrawal -- where a cut was made after three rounds -- don't matter.I guess the way to look at it is like this -- his streak is for made cuts. He made 142 in a row.

Gus (New City,NY)

Hi Bob, Sobel just tweeted that - Johnny Miller says Tiger Woods should "forget the Haney stuff." - Why shoud he "forget the Haney stuff."????

Bob Harig
  (4:05 PM)

Gus, there's lots of respect here for Johnny Miller, but let's be honest: Tiger has played two tournaments this year after a long layoff; he's had tremendous success working with Haney. Wouldn't it be worse to start anew?

Jason (Ft Walton Beach, FL)

I'm curious why fairway percentage is such a big deal, when the top two players in the world don't rank high in that percentage. Possibly the lowest in the field, but still know how to win.

Bob Harig
  (4:07 PM)

Jason, you make a good point. Hitting fairways can be very over-rated. What if a player misses by a yard in a the first cut? That's not the same as missing it in the trees. The top two players in the world have had an ability to overcome their misses, mostly because they hit it so far.

Nick (Atlanta)

Is Anthony Kim going to have surgery soon?

Bob Harig
  (4:09 PM)

Not sure. There's been no word yet. Kim said last week that he was considering doing so, but that he'd likely miss 2 to 3 months. He figured he could hang on until the end of the golf season and then get it done. It could be that he figures rest this week might be better than playing. He doesn't want to miss the majors or the Ryder Cup, and he puts all that in jeopardy if he has the surgery now.

Brian (Westborough)

Are we building up Ryo too much? His best stoke play finish on the PGA Tour is t32. His best finish in a major is t56. In the events he's even a serious golf fan would be hard pressed to name a single player he's beaten (save for maybe Yuta Ikeda). Jumbo Ozaki was a perenial top 10 player on the OWGR but his game never traveled with him outside of Japan. Is Ryo this generations Jumbo? Also when will he step away from the Japan tour and play on either the Euro tour or PGA tour? Until then how can anyone judge his game?

Bob Harig
  (4:10 PM)

Brian, the guy is only 18. Let's give him a little time. It's probably best that he concentrates on winning in Japan. Learning to win is a good thing. Then he can gradually bring his game over here. Your point about Ozaki is well taken -- Jumbo won something like 100 tournaments, but only one outside Japan. But Ishikawa has plenty of time.

Marc (Charlotte)

How does the LPGA plan on staying relevent if they go weeks without having events that are televised in the US?

Bob Harig
  (4:13 PM)

Marc, it's a tough situation the LPGA finds itself in at the moment. Last week's tournament was very compelling and it wasn't on U.S. TV. And that was after several weeks with no tournament at all. The tour has a new commmissioner in Michael Whan and he probably needs some time to get things turned around. A horrible economy has not helped. Personally, I think condensing the schedule so there are fewer off weeks would help. Start late, finish early and play a bunch of tournaments while people are into golf season. But that is easier said than done.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

With FEDEX pulling out of the Orange Bowl because they didn't want to commit to a season long BCS campaign where does this put their relationship with the PGA Tour and the Fedex Cup? Do they have a bad taste in their mouth from the Fedex Cup deal?

Bob Harig
  (4:19 PM)

Brian, FedEx's deal with the tour runs through 2012 and I'm not sure if the Orange Bowl has any bearing. It could be a good thing for the tour as FedEx would, in theory, have more money to spend. It certainly will be interesting, however, to see how that relationship proceeds. FedEx is spending a lot of money on the concept.

Nick (Atlanta)

Do you think Tiger would benefit from cutting ties with Elin? That's got to weigh heavily on his mind while he's playing. He looks lost. Dare I say is the Tiger Era over?

Bob Harig
  (4:22 PM)

Nick, that is territory that is diffiuclt to delve into. None of us know the behind the scenes issues and how difficult it is. Sure, it sounds easy to say cut ties and move on. But that's us saying it, not living it. And I think it's way too early to say the Tiger era is over.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

Did Phil speak for himself when he criticized the greens at Quail Hollow or were there rumblings from other players as well?

Bob Harig
  (4:24 PM)

Brian, I just wrote about this briefly in birdies and bogeys (shameless plus)but Phil appears to be the only one who had issues. Several players were asked about the greens and maybe they were holding back. No doubt they were severe but they didn't seem to be unfair.

Paul (Hickory, NC) [via mobile]

How is Poulter for the TPC? Any dark horses to keep an eye on?

Bob Harig
  (4:26 PM)

Paul, I kind of like Poulter as a possibility this week. He finished second last year, seems to have some injury issues resolved that kept him out of New Orleans. Picking a darkhouse is tough. I wouldn't have picked Stenson last year nor Stephen Ames in 2006. It's a full field with lots of possibilities.

Brian (Westborough)

What is up with Sergio? I can't figure out why he played in Hilton Head and New Orleans. He didn't seem like he wanted to be at either venue. Then he doesn't play in a marquee PGA Event in Charlotte (where he once had a 5 shot 54 hole lead) this week and doesn't play in Spain in his country's own Open. His game has been a headscratcher for over a year and now his schedule makes no sense. He was named the most overrated player in an SI poll by his peers as well. Taylormade still has marketing based around him too, is there a single golfer on earth who has bought a driver because of Sergio this year? Is there something going on with him that the public doesn't know about?

Bob Harig
  (4:27 PM)

Brian, lots of questions, few answers. Sergio is a mystery. Who knows what goes into his scheduling. I'm never going to criticize a top player for adding a new event, which he did at New Orleans. But his play has been lackluster all year. To me, it's never a good sign to hear about such an accomplished player messinng with his grip, which he did recently, experimenting with the inter-locking grip. That seems extreme.

Gus (New City, NY)

Bob, What do you think of O'Hair's chances this weekend? Thanks

Bob Harig
  (4:29 PM)

Gus, he contended here three years ago against Phil but has been having a relatively disappointing season to this point. He missed the cut last week at Quail Hollow, a tournament he won a year ago. Sometimes guys turn it around quickly present form suggests it's not a good bet.

JOhn (CA)

Bob, who do you think has the brightest future, Scott, Kim, Villegas or Sean O'Hair?

Bob Harig
  (4:30 PM)

John, I would go with Anthony Kim for this reason: he putts better than the others you mention. All are talented, all have the ability to be longtime contenders. But Scott, Villegas and O'Hair have all had issues with putting.

David (Texas)

Have they posted the pairings for Thursday yet?

Bob Harig
  (4:31 PM)

Yes, the pairings are out.

Brian (Westborough)

With Phil pulling out of Memphis what does his schedule look like for the upcoming months, will he add Memorial? Also last year he had commited to play the French Open and the Scottish Open, will he play those events this year?

Bob Harig
  (4:32 PM)

Phil hasn't laid out all of his plans, but I would guess Memorial would be a good bet since he is not going to play in Memphis the week before the U.S. Open. Also remember he had planned to play both Byron Nelson and Colonial last year but withdrew due to his wife's cancer diagnosis. I would not be surrprised to see him add at least one of those. Don't know about the French Open, but Phil is likely for the Scottish as one of his sponsors -- Barclays -- also sponsor the tournament at Loch Lomond.

Jeff, SLC [via mobile]

Does Phil have to win to take #1? If tiger MC and Phil top 5 does he take it? Do you think Phil will add events to try and get to #1. He says it not important, but I don't buy it.

Bob Harig
  (4:36 PM)

My understanding is he has to win and you start from there. If he does, Tiger would need to finish outside of the top 5.And no, I doubt he will add events to try and get there. The key is to play well in the ones he does enter. And I do think it is important to him, but it's important in the sense that winning takes care of everything.

me [via mobile]

answer my question please

Bob Harig
  (4:36 PM)

it's a dumb question

Brian (Richmond, Ky.)

What's your take on the whole Tiger Slam clubs eBay controversy? Tiger strikes me as the kind of competitor who cares about the wins and the trophies, not the equipment he used to win them, so do you think he really has the clubs in his garage or were those the legit clubs?

Bob Harig
  (4:38 PM)

Brian, I really don't know what to make of it, really. It is true that Tiger does not like people taking advantage of him and trying to make money off his name, and this is clearly a case of that. But could he have the real clubs in his garage? Hard to believe you'd give them away. But I really don't know.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

Arnold won his last major when he was 35, Watson when he was 34 (for now). Are we taking it for granted that Tiger will be more like Trevino, Snead and Nicklaus and win majors until he's in his 40s? Even some of the greatest ever stop winning majors at the age Tiger is at now.

Bob Harig
  (4:41 PM)

Brian, I think we are taking it for granted. Even Nicklaus won a very small number of his majors after age 35. But remember, Tiger won seven times around the world last year coming off a knee injury.

Brian (Westborough)

With the next few weeks being in San Antonion and 2 weeks in Dallas (all of which tiger doesn't normally play) isn't there a chance Phil can pass Tiger before Tiger tees it up again with either a win and Tiger finishing in the top 5 or a 2nd and a low finish by Tiger this week?

Bob Harig
  (4:44 PM)

The world ranking is a tough one to figure, having to do with so many factors. But if Phil can get there with a win this week, I guess it is conceivable that he could also do it while Tiger is not playing. Stay tuned.

David (Texas)

(Brian westborough) Look back to three weeks ago i.e. Phil at Masters at 39

Bob Harig
  (4:45 PM)

David, there are lots of expamples of players winning majors later in their career: Hogan, Snead. All of Vijays have come after age 35. But remember, if Tiger is to pass Jack, he needs five more.

David (Texas)

I didn't say he would break the record but I dont think you can write him off for his age either

Bob Harig
  (4:49 PM)

No doubt, I agree. I just don't think we should take it for granted. I think there was a time when we did.

David (Texas)

Even if Tiger doesn'tt break Jacks record is he still going to be considered the best with all the "Tiger proofing" of golf courses that had to be done?

Bob Harig
  (4:54 PM)

I guess that is up for debate. What it typically is all about is the bottom line, the number of victories.

Gus (New City, NY)

Do you think O'Hair can return to the way he was and maybe pull this off this weekend?

Bob Harig
  (4:56 PM)

It is certainly possible. But I don't think you can every predict victory for someone who has never won more than once in a season and has three victories in six years. There are just too many good players to suggest that one of them is going to emerge for sure.

David (Texas)

I would think if the changes hadnt been made he probably wouldve already passed him

Bob Harig
  (4:59 PM)

Not sure I buy the whole Tiger proofing thing. In theory, long courses ought to play into his hands. He hits it as far or farther than most and has a great short game to recover. It seems have made a difference at Augusta, and yet he's been near the top even though he has not won the past five years.

Bob Harig
  (5:00 PM)

Okay, I'm out of time. Thanks again for checking in with all the quesitons. Enjoy the Players Championship.