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August 4, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Bob Harig

Bob Harig
  (3:55 PM)

Hey, thanks for checking out this golf chat. Today I'm weighing in from Firestone Country Club, site of the Bridgestone Invitational. Antoher major is around the corner, we've got guys shooting lights out, an LPGA player with two majors already this season. Lots to chat about, but as always, and golf-related question is welcome. I'll get to as many as I can. Fire away, please.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

We've heard talk of captain Pavin selecting Fred Couples with a captain's choice or even Tom Watson. I haven't heard anyone mentioning Monty selecting Bernhard Langer with a captain's choice. Is there talk of this and is this realistic?

Bob Harig
  (3:57 PM)

Brian, first off, I think the Couples and Watson talk is just that. It's a nice thought. But what is the biggest flaw in each player's game? Putting. And, traditionally, poor putting has cost the U.S. As for Langer, the problem there is Monty has four European players ranked in the top 20 at the moment who have not even qualified for the team! I can't see leaving any of them off for Langer.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

Why does the tour insist on using split tees for small fields like this? Why not give the paying customers more time and ability to see their favorite players?

Bob Harig
  (3:58 PM)

Good question. Nobody can quite get why they don't all go off the first tee at the short field World events. It would make for a better spectator experience.

John (CA)

How boring is your job? You have to write... about golf...

Bob Harig
  (4:01 PM)

I'll answer with another question: how bored must you be to go to the trouble?

Bill (New York, NY)

Is Corey Pavin basically going to give Tiger an ultimatum that reads something like 'I don't want you on the Ryder Cup team unless you are willing to be a team player and accept possibly sitting out sessions and playing with other players. If I need you to carry Matt Kuchar in a four ball you have to be ok with that.'

Bob Harig
  (4:02 PM)

Bill, I seriously doubt there will be any ultimatums. I think Pavin wants Tiger to make the team. And he's got an easy out if he wants to pair him with Steve Stricker -- they went 4-0 together last year at the Presidents Cup. Tiger has not been a bad teammate at the Ryder Cup so much as he's played on teams where players -- including himself -- have not performed. Although he still has lost just a one singles match -- in his first Ryder Cup.

ray ray ramella (Lower Macungie via HHI)

What ever happened to Robert Gamez?

Bob Harig
  (4:03 PM)

Gamez failed to keep his card two years ago, and has been bouncing around through sponsor exemptions, the Nationwide Tour, etc.

Patrick (Hanover)

Has there been any talk about Tiger shutting it down after the PGA to take care of personal issues? I don't think he really cares about the Fed Ex Cup and has not been that fond of the Ryder Cup.

Bob Harig
  (4:04 PM)

I suppose all possibilities are out there. I go back to Tiger's competitive nature. It just doesn't seem like him to shut it down. There are tournaments to play, and he's got a lot to overcome to even make it to the FedEx Cup finals.

Patrick (Hanover)

The British Open rotation of courses never seems to have any flow to it. St Andrews is every 5 years but all the other courses are scattered. Ex: Royal Lytham & St Annes was in 1996 then in 2001 and now next year. Is there a bidding process by the courses?

Bob Harig
  (4:07 PM)

Patrick, for that matter, there is no flow to the U.S. Open and PGA venues. The British is like the others in that is views the circumstances and tries to work out perceived issues before awarding its venues. The British has had a basic flow, however: two years in a row in Scotland, followed by one in England, one in Scotland, one in England and then two more in Scotland. Go back and look and you'll see that pattern going back many years. But that pattern is about to be broken; for the firs time in Open history, it will be played in England in conescutive years, 2011 and 2012 -- Sandwich and Lytham.

Mike S (CT)

Bob, after a bit of a quiet spell, the wins by Oosthuizen and Appleby have brought back some attention to the talent that comes from So. Africa and Australia. Which country would you favor in a Ryder/Pres. Cup-style matchup between the two nations?

Bob Harig
  (4:08 PM)

I'd probably go with Australia simply because there are more players from Down Under at the moment.

Colin (Seattle)

Hi Bob-Just wanted to get your thoughts on Colin Montgomerie possibly choosing Bernhard Langer for the Euro Ryder Cup team? He is playing awfully well and looks like he could be an asset

Bob Harig
  (4:09 PM)

Colin, I had a similar question earlier and I just think Europe has too many top players who have yet to even qualify. Harrington, Casey, Rose and Edoardo Molinari are all ranked in the top 20 in the world -- and not among the top nine qualifiers at the moment.

Dan (Hot Arizona)

With the advances in equipment technology over the past several years there have been many instances of established courses getting longer. My question is are the new courses being built stressing length (7,500+ yards from the back tees) or letting the terrain (and designer philosophy) govern length and features?

Bob Harig
  (4:12 PM)

I think it depends. Any course that expects to be a venue for professionals has to consider length. It's a shame, really, because the majority of those who play golf have no chance to enjoy it from that distance.

Renny (Manning, SC)

Bob, do you think that Stuart Appleby's 59 in the final round at the Greenbrier should be tarnished because the overall scoring all week was so low? Also, do you think it makes people who aren't golf fans look at scores lower than 60 as being easy now with so many people around the world breaking 60, such as the 17 yr old in Alabama, the 56 that was shot in a Nationwide pro-am, and Ishikawa's 57 in Japan a few months ago?

Bob Harig
  (4:14 PM)

It's an interesting subject, certainly. All of a sudden there has been this abundance of low scoring, as you point out. However, there have still been just 5 scores of 59 on the PGA Tour in more than 90 years. Still just 24 scores out of the thousands of rounds of 60. It certainly isn't easy.

Jim (NY, NY)

In response to Patrick Tiger is committed to the Australia event in November, he's not shutting it down.

Bob Harig
  (4:15 PM)

He also is playing the WGC event in China, so it's unlikely, yes, that he would shut it down.

Shoshana (Baltimore)

Does Tiger really hate the Ryder cup? or is this an overblown story primarily from earlier in his career? If he does hate it any particular reason? since he doesn't seem to hate the Presidents cup

Bob Harig
  (4:17 PM)

I don't think he hates it, I just don't think he enjoys it. Tiger likes the competition, just not all the stuff that goes with the week. The players are pulled in a lot of different directions. He can't come and go as he pleases. He can't keep the schedule he would keep if he were playing on his own. I'm not saying he is right or wrong, but that is a bit of why perhaps it is not one of his favorites.

Andrew (WI)

So, since I last asked about the European Ryder Cup team last week, Ross Fisher won and now that's yet another name blocking the big names. Can we just play the United Kingdom only again?

Bob Harig
  (4:21 PM)

No doubt, Great Britain and Ireland (the way it used to be) could field an impressive team:Westwood, McIlroy, Mcdowell, Donald, Poulter, Fisher, Harrington, McGowan, Casey, Dyson, Davies, Wilson are all in the top 18 on the European Ryder Cup team standings. And that leaves out Darren Clarke.

Aaron (Saugerties, NY)

Bob, what do you make with the PGA of America's obession with the Midwest? The US Ryder Cup sites since 2004 have been Oakland Hills in Michigan, Valhalla in Kentucky, in 2012 it is Medinah in Illinois, 2016 is Hazeltine in 2016, and Whistling Straits in 2020. The PGA Championship is in the Midwest for the 5th straight year and 6 of the past 7 years, and 9 of the past 12 years. It seems a little geographically biased.

Bob Harig
  (4:23 PM)

It goes back to where they can get the best deal, I suppose. A lot of this is tied into logistics. I'm amazed they don't go out West more often. The weather is better and they can play in prime time on the East Coast.

Andrew (WI)

I checked the world golf ranking the other day, looking at the margin between Tiger/Phil....and noticed Lee Westwood is getting very close. What are the chances Lee gets to #1 in the world, and does it mean anything beyond being a ceremonial honor?

Bob Harig
  (4:24 PM)

Westwood can get to No. 1 this week with various scenarios unfolding. A victory and Tiger finishing worse than a two-way tie for second is one of the ways. And I definitely think it would mean a lot to have that on your resume.

Shoshana (Baltimore)

Do you think Tiger's rider cup answer was due to not really wanting to commit to being on the team, or just confidence/pride that he'll make it on his own, and refusal to consider (publicly) the potential he wont?

Bob Harig
  (4:24 PM)

I'm not sure what to make of it, to be honest. If you read my story on ESPN.com (shameless plug)you'll see his answers today. If you want to play, why not just say so?

Pam (West Palm Beach)

There appears to be a cord of disrespect of Tiger, the golfer regarding the Ryder. As bad as Tiger has played this year, he is far better than most of the players who are in the Cup Mix. In that case why should he not play for the team if he wants to?

Bob Harig
  (4:25 PM)

I agree. I can't imagine Tiger not be on the team if he wants to be, whether he makes it automatically or not. The question is: does he want to play in the Ryder Cup? He wouldn't answer that today.

Nick (Atl)

True or False: Tiger will end 2010 as the world's #1 player.

Bob Harig
  (4:27 PM)

True.

Marc (Charlotte)

Guys, Bernard Langher has 0 chance of being a captains pick.

Bob Harig
  (4:27 PM)

For the reasons I stated early, I completely agree.

Justin (Seattle, WA.)

Bob- Will Tiger ever get back to his winning ways?

Bob Harig
  (4:28 PM)

I truly believe it is just a matter of time.

Phil (Chicago)

I saw TV ratings were up 50% for the US Senior Open this past Sunday. I will assume this is due to Fred Couples being in contention. Will his presence on the senior tour lead to more events and higher purses (similar to the effect Tiger had on the regular tour, just at a smaller scale)?

Bob Harig
  (4:29 PM)

Phil, I seriously doubt it. The Champions Tour has its own issues. The last thing it needs to do is add events and increase purses, putting more strain on sponsors or finding them. The Champions Tour has gotten a nice little bump this year. Best to enjoy it and not get greedy.

Tom (Chicago)

With less experienced players such as Jeff Overton, Matt Kuchar, Duston Johnson, etc. currently on pace to make the Ryder Cup team and the fact that it is being played overseas, how big of an underdog is the US?

Bob Harig
  (4:30 PM)

It is possible that the U.S. will be a bigger underdog than ever. At this point, it looks like a mismatch. Then again, that is the beauty of the Ryder Cup. It doesn't always work out the way it is supposed to.

Patrick (Chicago, IL)

I read a story that detailed the 24 golfers that played went out in the first 8 groupings on the Friday of the British Open and it was incredible what an advantage they had over the rest of the field (even over guys like Mickelson that played later in the morning). There weren't many big names in the group but I think 11 of them entered the weekend in the top 26 on the leaderboard. You can't take anything away from Oost because of how well he played the weekend but do you agree that the 5 stroke lead he took into the weekend was fluky?

Bob Harig
  (4:32 PM)

Well, he certainly benefitted from the circumstances, although I'll say that Oosthuizen did not play in pristine conditions Thursday. He didn't play in the early morning when it was calm. But he got a huge break Friday playing in the second group off.

Nelson (DE)

Let's say Tiger doesn't qualify for the FedEx Cup, or gets eliminated early from it: do you think he'd consider playing a fall series event or two?

Bob Harig
  (4:32 PM)

Nelson, I seriously doubt it. He'll have those two overseas events plus his own tournament in December.

Pam (West Palm Beach)

Non sports workers go through life issues every day and continue to work at their jobs and perform well. Why does the media and people try to make heroes out of golfers who are going through life issues and continue to play their sports? If you show up that means you are ready and willing to perform

Bob Harig
  (4:34 PM)

Not sure who you are referring to as it pertains to heroes and golfers.

Joe (Yonkers)

What are the chances of the FedEx Cup (or any playoff system) surviving long-term?

Bob Harig
  (4:35 PM)

There are a lot of questions about the future of the FedEx Cup. FedEx has put up a ton of money to sponsor it; the network TV deals are coming up for renewal. All of this goes through 2012 and there is no guarantee it will continue in its present form.Generally, the idea is a good one. But can you do it if you don't offer the same payout? Can you do it if there are fewer playoff events? Lots of questions.

Mike (Jersey City)

Bob, Any thoughts on how the course is playing this week? Also any reasons why Tiger shouldn't continue his dominance at Firestone?

Bob Harig
  (4:37 PM)

It appears that the rough is shorter than usual, which is surprising to me. They've had some rain here so the greens are not as hard as usual. It'll be interesting. The South Course is a brute, and yet twice, players have shot 61 -- Tiger and Olazabal.

Kevin (New York City)

Bob, don't you think the European team, although loaded with high OWGR players is not as good as it seems? Besides Harrington, there are 0 major champions. Not saying the Americans are stacked, but if anyone not named Tiger had two 4th place finishes, and a 23rd in the years 3 majors, he would be ranked highly too. I think there is too much emphasis on rankings and not on the actual quality of a big time player in a big time setting (Woods, Mickelson)

Bob Harig
  (4:40 PM)

It is true that the Europeans top 12 at the moment has just two players with majors -- McDowell and Harrington. The U.S. has four major winners in its top 12, including Tiger and Phil, but also Lucas Glover and Jim Furyk. Winning a match play event is completely different, which is what makes all of this so fascinating. Padraig Harrington was coming off of two striaght major wins in 2008 and played horribly at the Ryder Cup.

Shoshana (Baltimore)

Seems like AK chose a good tournament to come back to (no cut) is he back on form by the time the Ryder cup rolls around? Also Phil (along with Tiger) has a terrible Ryder cup record, is there some reason the top Americans have all performed so poorly in this event over the past decade

Bob Harig
  (4:41 PM)

No doubt Anthony Kim can use this event to figure out where he is at, get four rounds of competition under his belt. He's got next week and, most likely, the four FedEx events to get his game in shape.

Andrew (WI)

The Champions Tour needs to figure out how to stop their players from traveling to Britian, playing 4 rounds in typical British weather, then traveling back to the states and playing 4 round in typical USGA conditions for 4 days. That's insane. How did these guys stay upright?

Bob Harig
  (4:43 PM)

Good question. I continue to ask the same thing. It's absurd, really.

Mike (NC)

With the PGA essentially on a links course next week I'm torn between Phil's less than stellar record at the British vs. his high finish the last time it was there - so tell me if you think Phil will be in contention this time around?

Bob Harig
  (4:44 PM)

Mike, it is only a links course in looks. It really doesn't play like one. It has plenty of forced carries and there are many places where running the ball onto the green is not the play. I think it all depends on how Phil's game is. That is the gauge. In 2004, he contended at all four majors.

John (Franklin, KY)

I'm not buying into this doom and gloom for Tiger. Maybe a little bit during Wachovia and The Players but I think time has proven injury probably played a big role in those poor performances. Right now I see a guy who's in a putting slump and just a little off in the other aspects of his game. This doesn't resemble '03-'04 in my opinion and I don't think we'll have to wait long for his return to playing great golf.

Bob Harig
  (4:45 PM)

I think that is a reasonable take on the situation. Others might disagree, but I think a lot of his problems are due to poor putting at the moment.

Richard (San Jose)

Who do you like to win at Bridgestone this week? I have Kuchar and Allenby.

Bob Harig
  (4:45 PM)

Allenby withdrew with a knee injury. Kuchar is having a nice year and is sort of overdue for a victory. I went with an obvious choice, Lee Westwood, because he keeps hanging around.

Tom (Cleveland)

I am not a fan of Tiger, but if it was any other decent American who had top 5's in the last PGA, Masters, National Open and made cut at the Open, we'd say he was a gritty gamer who would thrive in the Ryder Cup. A scrapper.

Bob Harig
  (4:46 PM)

Tiger is a scrapper, a gamer. He typically makes the most out of nothing. Nobody has been better at turning a 75 into a 69. We've seen tha time and again. And despite his putting woes this year, who would you rather have standing over an important putt at the Ryder Cup?

adam (o-town)

I'm planning on travelling overseas to play St. Andrews and catch the open championship. Which of the upcoming sites would be the best to watch the tournament?

Bob Harig
  (4:49 PM)

If you are going to St Andrews, it will be quite a journey to get to either of the next two, either at Royal St. George's or Royal Lytham. Both are in England a good ways away, a long driver or a plane ride. Really, you can't go wrong at any of the Open venues. They are all unique, and especially for an American, great places to see a tournament. St. Andrews might actually be the most difficult of the spectator venues because you can only watch from the perimeter due to the configuration. But I would still recommend a visit.

Pam (West Palm Beach)

Is Yani Tseng on her way to being a very good LPGA player. She has so far surpassed Chrietue, Lorena, Paula etc in terms of major. Whats your take

Bob Harig
  (4:50 PM)

I think three majors is pretty impressive. She obviosly finds a way to get her game together for the biggest tournaments. Also two in the same year. She's only 21. I don't see why she can't have a Hall of Fame career considering this start.

Aaron (Saugerties, NY)

Bob, who is you POTY right now? Is Phil's win at Augusta and runner up finish at Quail Hollow, T4 finish at the US Open, and T5 at Memorial enough to make him the favorite to win?

Bob Harig
  (4:53 PM)

I don't think there is a favorite right now. Wide open. Els, Furyk, Stricker have a shot. So do McDowell and Oosthuizen and Westwood. Certainly Phil.

John (Cleveland, OH)

I think excitement in golf is down a bit now, any chance the PGA of America lights a fire next week with a Tiger/Phil pairing or is Mickelson locked into playing with Oosthuizen and McDowell?

Bob Harig
  (4:54 PM)

I am pretty sure the PGA sticks to the three major winners playing together the first three rounds.

Eesan (Williamsburg,VA)

Any word on how Tiger looked on the course during his practice rounds? on the putting green?

Bob Harig
  (4:55 PM)

He striped his drive down the middle on the first hole and then the horn blew due to lightning in the area. Not sure what happened when he went back out.

Pete (Columbus OH)

Any chance Pavin goes off the board and pick Daly for team? He has made a bunch of cuts lately and does make alot of birdies, European fans like him...etc

Bob Harig
  (4:56 PM)

I personally don't see it, but the beauty of the captain's picks is something just like that. And it's not like anybody outside of the top 12 at the moment is screaming to be picked. Daly, despite two majors, has never played in a Ryder Cup.

Gus (New City, NY)

Non Tiger question, well kind of. Do you think the players are going to vote for the the tour's must play events proposal?

Bob Harig
  (4:58 PM)

I think they will vote in favor of it. Gus is referring to talk that the tour will institute a rule where a handful of events that have poor fields will be picked, and the top (30, 50?) will be required to play in one of those tournaments. It's really not a tough request, and the tour needs to do something to help out the struggling tournaments.

Jim (NY, NY)

Likley a lot of golf over the next two months for Tiger. Check your crystal ball- what will people be saying about the state of Tiger's game at the end of this stretch?

Bob Harig
  (4:58 PM)

Several tournaments ahead where he's played well,including Bridgestone, Cog Hill and Tour Championship. . I maintain he will win at least one of his final events.

Mike (Jersey City)

Seems like shorter rough will put more players in contention. In your opinion, why has Tiger been so lights out at Firestone? Over/Under Tiger T5 this week?

Bob Harig
  (4:59 PM)

He just loves the course, and it's typcially not a birdie fest. He thrives in tournaments where when you shoot 3 or 4 under, you really make up ground. And I think he will be in the top 5.

Brian (Westborough, MA)

Not that he is playing well but if Aaron Baddely were playing well could Pavin pick him as he has dual citizenship?

Bob Harig
  (5:01 PM)

No, he could not. Baddeley is viewed as an Aussie for such purposes.

Bob Harig
  (5:01 PM)

Okay, I'm out of time. Thanks for all the questions. Check back again next week from the PGA Championship. Thanks