Hello, welcome to Pebble Beach. It would be difficult to argue that there is a better U.S. Open site than this one. The weather is nice, it hardly ever rains here in the summer, and of course this is such a famous golf course. We're less than a day way from the 110th U.S. Open and I'm here for a little while to try and answer you questions. Please fire away.
For now, who is the best player to have never won a US Open; Phil Mickelson or Sam Sneed?
Patrick, that is an interesting debate, but I'd have to go with Snead, simply because he has the most wins of any player in PGA Tour history, more than double Phil's total. And he agonizingly never won the Open.
Why did Tom Kite not receive a special invite? How big of a story is this at Pebble?
Brian, I think you could argue this either way. Tom Kite had played in every major at Pebble and made the cut in all of them, too. But. . . he's not even won on the Champions Tour in some time. Then again, his history might have warranted consideration. Give him credit for going through qualifying, where he missed by a single shot.
Hey Bob, if Tiger wins the US Open this weekend, will the media stop hounding him about his personal life?
Matthew, in all honesty, Tiger has not been hounded about his personal life. I've been at eveyr tournament he's played this year, every media session. Yes, he did get one question yesterday about the state of his marriage from a British writer. That is the first time since Quail Hollow that he fieled that type of a question. And I would suggest, too, that his personal life has an effect on his game, which is relevent to a degree.
Everyone says that success in the AT&T here is irrelevant come the US Opena and that the course is a different animal in June. Yet Nicklaus, Watson, Kite and Woods each won here before they won their US Open here. Which is it? Seems to me like good news for Kite, Woods, Mickelson, Love, Singh and Dustin Johnson.
Brian, only Nicklaus and Woods won the AT&T in the same year they won the Open, but I understand your point. Certainly I don't think playing well here can hurt, but the conditions are just simply much different. In February it was soft, the fairways had little roll, the greens were not fast. Not so right now.
Jason Sobel ranked Hunter Mahan #1 in the field for the US Open. Who do you have as the favorite if you had to pick one?
I have gone way out on a limb and picked Mickelson. Sorry that's not very insightful, as many will pick Phil. I'm not sure about Mahan. He's not done much since winning at Phoenix way back in February.
In 2000 Phil said in his press conference there would be holes where he intentionally missed greens short so he could leave himself in a good position to get up and down. Holes like #13 come to mind with this. Will he employ this strategy again?
Phil suggested that might be the case at 17. . . He felt there was no place to keep the ball on the green. I'm not sure he will purposesly miss the green but I'm guessing he means he will aim for a spot on the green where if it rolls over he will be in a position to get it up and down.
Someone has to ask it so I will. What was up with Robert Garrigus' pants on Sunday? I don't know what the bigger mistake by his caddy was, not having him lay up on his 3rd shot on 18 or letting him leave the coutesy car with those pants on a 110 degree day. If image is everything he failed miserably.
There is no quesiton that Garrigus got as much attention for his sweat-soaked pants as he did for his gaffe on the 18th hole. A victory might have gone a long way toward getting people to forget about the pants.
What is the easiest Golf Course on the PGA Tour?
Chris, last year the three easiest courses were all from the Bob Hope Classic -- Bermuda Dunes and both courses at PGA West. The tournament has a pro-am format and you typically have to shoot well under par there.
Are players who played in Memphis this past weekend concerned about being worn out? Heat index was 110 and it's not a short flight to Pebble either.
It certainly is a legitimate issue for those who are not in great condition. It was brutally hot in Memphis, it's a long trip, the temperature here is considerably cooler. It is a reason why many players skipped last week.
Phil has been asked countless times what it would feel like to gain the number one ranking, why hasn't anyone asked if he'd really embrace it considering it would have come mainly because Tiger is so far below the minimum events played and essentially being given a bunch of MC's for events he never played?
Jim, sure he'd embrace it. If it says he's No. 1, he's No. 1. It does take some level of competance on his part to get there, regardess of what is going on with Tiger. Yes, there is an asterisk for Tiger I suppose, but then again, he brought it on himself. His absence from the game -- which greatly hurt his ranking points -- was due to his own issues.
with the way the course is playing right now, what would you say a good number sunday would be?
David, I'm thinking 4 under par is going to win at this point. Just a hunch. It's tough, but a few guys will sneak under par when it's all over.
What do you think is more likely, Tiger winning the US Open, or Tiger missing the cut?
Steven, I would have to go with Tiger winning the U.S. Open. Even though I don't seem him doing so, I think that is more likely than him missing the cut. He's missed just six in his career.
What is the real reason the golf media is picking Phil. Phil with Tiger are two of the worst drivers on the Tour and this is a tight fairway. Please dont say that Phil has 5 2nd places in Us Open so he is due , because the Tournament is not aware of the stats
Phil wasn't driving it that well last year either. It has more to do with his short game and the small greens here. A lot of players are going to miss greens and his short game is good. Granted if he putts like he did at Memorial he won't win. And Phil won't have to hit driver on every hole here.
If you don't play much for over a year, you shouldn't be number 1. Phil would have nothing to be ashamed of. He can only beat the guys that are on the course. If Tiger wants to be number 1, he should play more often. If he can't/won't play, then he shouldn't be number 1.
I know that's not really a question, but I posted it because you have a good point, in my opinion.
I agree with Jim from NY on the ranking issue. If it's supposed to be based on the previous 24 months of play there's really no comparison between Tiger and Phil aside from Phil having more starts. At the very least it's worth the media asking Phil about.
It's true that Tiger has won much more in that period.
Phil getting to No 1, you comment that Tiger brought it on himself is screwy reasoning. Tiger has not performed & won tournaments regardless of events, thus he loses the ranking. Real life happens even among golfers
The point is that Tiger has lost considerable ranking points because he missed so many tournaments.
If you talk to Sobel ask him to quit hollering it's in the hole after every swing Tiger makes.
I'd talk to him, but he is busy getting coffee and soda for the ESPN staff on site.
So should a team that gets voted #1 in a college sport not accept it if there is a team that may be better than them that just lost? Come on people.
This is the line of reasoning I side with. We all know that if Tiger had not stepped away, it is unlikely he could have been caught at this point in the rankings -- such was his lead. But he did, and stuff happens.
Does the general public, or even golfer, know how tough Pebble Beach is? I shoot in the md-90's consistantly. I have played Pebble 4 times and never broken 100. My best round is actually 103 there.
Chad, I'm not sure folks do realize how tough it is and can be. It's scenic, but it also has plenty of difficulty even for the best in the world. I think that was made clear 10 years ago. Yes, Tiger was 12 under. Nobody else was better than 3 over.
I don't think there would be an asterisk with Phil as #1 in the world. He had to skip out on the Byron Nelson, Colonial, the French and Scottish Opens last year to due his family situation. He has 3 wins and 3 seconds in those events. Had he played them he could already be number 1. Not to mention I can argue Tiger has received good fortune in that Duval (the former #1) completely lost his game. Had he not the past 10 years could have been different.
Another view on the No. 1 issue. . All good stuff folks. Thanks for chiming in.
Why are we not showing any love for Westwood, Ernie or any past US Open champs winning at this Open. Are we so Americentric that we prefer an American kissing the trophy
Pam, you are showing the love. I like Westwood better than Ernie in this one -- although nobody has ever won the week prior and gone on to win the U.S. Open.
Talk to me a little about Tim Clark... Gets the monkey off his back and here we are a a venue that suits his game. Are you feeling a top 15 or better from Timmy?
Jon, I do like Tim Clark this week. Pebble is not a long venue. The greens are small, which should suit him. It's hard to say, but I wouldn't be surprised by a high finish.
Tiger has been commanded to visit the Press room more than any other player on Tour for the past 12 years. Why dont the media give him a pass for the next 6 mths(win /lose any tournament) and get to know other players.We also know TW will not give too much info
Pam, you can't really be serious. It goes with the territory.
Why is everyone acting like Phil getting #1 is in the bag? He's had what like 5 chances this year and hasn't yet? Also Tiger said his game is the best it has been all year. I don't think Phil will ever be #1, Do you Mr. Harig?
Matt, you are correct, Phil has had his share of chances. He's had to win, but been unable to do it. This week a victory is not necessary, depending on circumstances. Do I think he will be No. 1? Yes, but it might not be for long. As others have pointed out, this is really more about Tiger. If Tiger gets on a roll, he goes back to No. 1 -- assuming he even loses the top spot.
If a number cruncher could show people what Tiger's lead over Phil would be if he just got credit for a 25th place finish in the tourneys he's getting nothing for I think people would realize how artificial Phil's pursuit is. That said Tiger and Phil are worried about majors and not this issue as they should be- it's the media I have a problem with because they're building it up without putting it into proper context for those that don't know the OWR formula.
Blame it on the media.Phil has never been No. 1 and has a chance to get there, a fact that is simply being reported.Both players have often said the ranking takes care of itself with victories.
Do you think Luke Donald wins this week? he has had three strong tournaments in Europe and should have a lot of confidence
Donald is flying under the radar a bit, but should come in with loads of confidence for the reasons you suggest. Perhaps he becomes the first European since 1970 to win the U.S. Open.
What would get a bigger Sunday TV rating Tiger in contention for win,Tom Watson leading at the turn,or a qualifier no one has ever heard of fighting down the strech for the win?
Not sure between Tiger and Watson -- probably Tiger, with Watson a close second. There is no question the qualifier would get the worst ratings Golf is a front-runner sport. For some reason golf fans don't cheer for the underdog very often.
The guy who said that maybe if Duval did not lose his game Tiger would not be NO 1. What is he smoking. That is a fallacy. How many weeks/ years has Tiger been No 1. You cant fake that on mediocre results
Pam, I think the point he was making is that Duval was challenging for No. 1 in the early 2000s then lost his game. It is true that Tiger has held the top spot for 5 years. Only Vijay for a short time in 2004 and again in 2005 took it away from him.
What player(s) 30 or under have the best chance this week?
How about Rory McIlory? Nick Watney? Hunter Mahan?
There is only 1 #1 that matters on the PGA. That is who's #1 on the money list at the end of the season. You either played a lot of tourneys and finished high or really finished high in the few that you played.
Chad, the money list can be skewed by the big-money tournaments. It is not always the best indicator, although the combination of playing a lot and playing well seems to get lost today.
Bob, Mike Weir has a good record at Pebble and at the Open, yet has really played poorly as of late. What can we expect this week? Have you talked to Weir?
George, I have not spoken to Weir and I agree that he should do well here -- although his results do not suggest it at the moment.
The huge money guys make now most play less tourneys,does this make for better or worse performances in the majors?
It depends on the player. You can argue that guys don't get burned out playing for money, that they can prepare better for the majors. Then again, if they have so much money, do they lose some desire??
Speaking of money. The money the players get from sponsors and endorsements has to be 100 X's more than just 15 years ago. This alllows the players to play less yet make more.
Not for all of them. Certainly the top guys make a lot of money off the course. But endorsements have dwindled in recent years, too.
I haven't really been paying attention so this maybe a stupid question but it's been confirmed that Elin is divorcing Tiger right? Do you think that is affecting him and will affect him in the future?
Matt, it has been speculated on a great deal, but not confirmed. There has been no official announcement of divorce proceedings being under way. Nonetheless, the entire situation, you would think, has to have an effect.
Bob, just because something hasn't happened in the past does not mean it cannot happen. It's a fallacy of logic.
If you are referring to the Westwood note, it's true. Nothing lasts forever. But it is interesting to keep it in mind.
We know that Mike Davis likes to set up these US Open courses with a lot of risk/reward. What holes do you see him playing around with to create those risk/reward opportunities?
It has been speculated that he can move up the tee at the 4th hole and give players a better chance to get close to the green
I am out of time folks, have to fun. Thanks for all the questions. Good discussion on both sides of the No. 1 issue. Enjoy the U.S. Open at Pebble.