Hello again. It's a rare off week on the PGA Tour, the first since the long season started in January. But there's still plenty to talk about. Next week's Tour Championship, the Ryder Cup, Michelle Wie. .. fire away with your golf questions. Thanks
Last week you guessed Love would be the next RC captain for the US, what about the next European Captain?
A good guess would be Jose Maria Olazabal.
I asked last week if there was any chance Tiger and Phil would ever be partnered together in a Cup event again and you said no. There seems to be some chatter saying it could happen and Pavin said this week he isn't afraid to partner anyone 2 players together, including Mickelson and Woods. Any chance this happens or should we expect to see 4 rouns of Woods/Sticker and Mickelson/Johnson?
I can't speak for the other pairings be set, but I would bet a good bit that Tiger and Phil won't be paired together. Here's a good reason why not to do it: if they win, you get 1 point, that's it. If they don't, not only does Europe get 1 point, but it is also a huge momentum and confidence booster. It's not worth it.
Bob, each week you get asked about how the fast the sky will fall if Stricker/Westwood et al rise to #1 in the OWGR without having won a major. Fun fact: Tiger Woods is still #1 even though none of his 14 majors currently count toward ranking. It can be debated whether someone in bad form should still be #1, but had Tiger salvaged his year with a victory, no one would have griped that he remained #1. Woods, or anyone else, is ranked atop the list due to playing the best over a two-year span - majors are not the be-all, end-all. If Mickelson wants it, win more than just the Masters - the door is wide open.
This is an excellent point. Tiger's points for winning the 2008 U.S. Open -- his last major -- are gone. He is getting a lot of run, however, out of his strong showing toward the end of 2009. And even these playoff events offer a lot of points because the fields are strong.
No, it doesn't work that way. You are supposed to take the next person off the points list, and if he isn't there or can't be replaced, then the other team is asked to pull a player and they only go with 11.
I noticed that after Tiger-Phil played together last week some outlets had the head to head record at 11-10-4 and some had it at 11-11-4. Is the difference becuase some are not counting the HSBC last Novemeber when they played to gether in the final round becuase it was a non PGA sanctioned event?
I think that is where the difference is coming from. ...
Pavin seems a little above his head for my taste. I don't understand why he ignored Azinger's advice.
I don't think he is in over his head, he just wants to do things his way. I agree that Azinger laid a great blueprint. You can over think this thing way too much. It's about playing well. And a guy can have no more than 4 partners for the week. Why not narrow it down to 3 and keep those 4 together the entire time?
Apparently I am wrong. Michelle Wie is a role model after all. But I never thought Julie Inkster would model her behavior afer her. Why is she still ahrking on the DQ? You can't use swing aids mid round. You're a veteran professional golfer,learn the rules. Why is she still bringing this up?
I, too, was a bit dismayed at Inkster's remarks. She broke a rule, a clear cut rule. And it's her fault for not knowing the rule.Now. . . I agree that television viewers should not be allowed to call in rules violations. I have a huge problem with that. Players and officials should be the only ones, on site.That said, Inkster broke the rule, and it shouldn't matter where the finger pointing came from.
According to my rather unscientific count, I see about a dozen different golfers who can say they deserve the POY if they win at East Lake. Seem about right to you?
You're probably pretty close.Off the top of my head: Els, Furyk, Stricker, Mahan, Kuchar, Mickelson. . . Any of those guys wins the Tour Championship or the FedEx Cup and they could very easily be player of the year.
Hi Bob. Who are two or three genuinely sincere golfers who fans should definitely follow?
There are a bunch of them. Again, off the top of my head. Hard not to like Matt Kuchar. Same for Steve Stricker. Adam Scott. Stewart Cink. These are genuinely nice guys. But I'm leaving out a bunch.
Will Tiger Woods Pack up and Go Home & not play in any golf tournament for the Rest of this Year?
While Cog is on the schedule for 2011 have the players effectively forced the PGA's hands and forced a move to other venues in the future?
No, Tiger is playing the Ryder Cup. And then he is scheduled to play the HSBC Championship in China, followed by the Australian Masters, both in November. His Chevron tournament in California is the first week of December.
Oops, you'll see a question and answer juggled there. . . Sorry about that.
There seems to be a call for a Woods/McIlroy singles match in the Ryder Cup. Does the Ryder Cup still do blind selections unlike the President's Cup and if so have they ever considered going to a format that allows the Captain's to pick opponents?
The Ryder Cup has a blind draw, unlike the Presidents Cup, where the captains alternate their pairings so you can match up with what the other captain has done. It is one of the unique features of the Presidents Cup. . . But the Ryder Cup has been pretty successful as is. One of the strategies is to try and guess what the other captian is going to do. I'd hate to see them change it.
What are the chances we see Tiger hit a ball in a tournament outside of the Ryder Cup before China?
I would say no chance.
The FEDEX Cup was modeled after, or at least explained in the same logic as the NASCAR Sprint cup. In NASCAR drivers are eliminated from the Sprint Cup after a certain point but can still race in every event. Why doesn't the tour follow a similiar logic and allow certain players (ie defending champions, top X in the OWGR) play in these events. Who benefits from allowing Tiger to miss playoff events as the World #1. Had he missed the cut in NY he would have missed 3 playoff events including one where he wasn't able to defend his title. I've never heard of a defending champion in professional golf not qualifying to defend his title.
I think you are on to something here. I have advocated since the start that the first three playoff events should have full fields, irregardless of those involved in the FedEx Cup. You could still cut to 100 and then 70 but have others in the field who are not eligible to get to Atlanta. It could be as you say based on the World Rankings or defending champions. Or how about major champions? They might not be eligible for the bonus, but they could still win the tournament and thereby play the role of spoiler.
As of right now, who do you think Pavin and Monty would put in the envelope of doom for Singles play?
This sort of goes along with an earlier question. If somebody is injured and can't play, both captains are to have designated someone -- in advance -- to sit out. They put their name in an envelope. Just a guess, but the American side would be Jeff Overton, the European side would be Peter Hanson.
The first 3 FEDEX Cup playoff events awarded 70 pts in the OWGR to the winner. Last year Mickelson received 56 for winning the Tour Championship and the winner this year will receive even less as Tiger is not bringing his #1 pts to the event. If the Tour Championship is the SUPER BOWL of the Fedex Cup, shouldn't the winner receive the most points for the OWGR? Or does this proove that the FEDEX Cup is just contirved for ratings and the strength of field holds that the TC is not a big event?
I don't think you can blame the FedEx Cup for how the world rankings work. . . The top two teams don't always make it to the Super Bowl or World Series, so if you are going to call this "playoffs" then sometimes the top players are not going to get there. Otherwise, what is the point of "playoffs."
Everyone is just assuming that once Tiger gets everything straightened out that he will go back to dominating the tour(maybe not to the degree it was) but close. One thing that may get in his way is the influx of young superstars(Rory, DJ etc) this seems to be a bigger influx than ever before that he is going to have to deal with and who do not have the emotional scars of say a Sergio of getting beat up by Tiger all the time. Your thoughts.
There is no doubt that the younger players have not had to absorb the beatings, so they battle scars are fewer. That should make it easier. They've seen Tiger struggle. They are not as in awe. But you still have to get up there and do the job.
Would it be better if the Tour Championship were match play. Say 36 holes mini stroke play tournament Th/Fr with the top 8 in Fedex Cup points advancing to Saturday. 2 18 hole matches to determine the final 2 and 1 18 hole match for all seven million marbles. Each day would have tremendous pressure.
There have been a lot of "outside the box" suggestions for the Tour Championship. One is for there to be a shootout for the $10-million. Let anyone who wins the tournament get it. Some have suggested match play, although that never works very well for TV. They seem content to keep things more toward what we are used to in stroke play golf.
Bob, any idea of the scenarios for #1 at East Lake?
Any of the top 5 guys. . . Kuchar, Stricker, Hoffman, D. Johnson and Paul Casey . . . wins the FedEx Cup with a victory, no matter what anybody else does. For anyone from sixth to 30th to win, they need other things to happen, such as lower finishes for the top 5 guys. Mathematically eveyrone has a chance but for No. 30 to get it done -- Bo Van Pelt -- he has to win the tournament and hope for low finishes out of Kuchar, Johnson, etc.
Sorry, I meant for OWGR #1.
Sorry about that. . . The OWGR folks typically put that out once a tournament field becomes official so they can do their permutations. I'm guessing Phil has another shot at No. 1 if he wins.
It seems that Tiger has struggled at the beginning of rounds and then come on in the last 6 or 7 holes. Is that the product maybe of getting more comfortable with the swing during the round?
Yes, that is sort of how it has gone of late. He seems to get off to a bad start and then figures it out. It seems as if he doesn't trust it off the bat and then works his way into things.
In his power rankings, Sobel has Kaymer #1, Johnson #2, and Kuchar #3. Any dissent to his opinion?
That's probably about right. He's doing it based on how they are playing now. Kaymer has won the last two events he played. Dustin Johnson should have been in a playoff at the PGA and just won the BMW and was in contention at the Barclays. And Matt Kuchar has more top 10s than anyone.
Why is everyone crowning these players, such as Mcilroy,DJ,Fowler, etc Pga stars to challenge Tiger if he comes back to form. We all know that you have to bring the consistency and win week in week out in order to command the respect and intimidation. Lefty, Ernie, Davis Love who are some of the most talented golfers compared to the future stars were not able to do that. Why not wait and look at the body of work?
It's all relative. McIlroy has one once on the PGA Tour. Fowler not at all. Dustin Johnson now has 4 victories, but only one of them came in a field where Tiger played. It is true that nothing is guaranteed. These guys could be great but there is nothing assured as far as challenging Tiger if and when he returns to his former self.
I would probably give him a C. If you are just looking at the golf aspect, yes he had a long time off, but he was not injured. The fact that he managed just two top-10s is very telling. He missed only one cut, but he was absolutely horrible at Firestone, where he dominates. Given all that, it is somewhat of a miracle that he managed T4s at the Masters and U.S. Open.
What's your take on the Ian Poulter spat with Johnny Miller?
I see that as one of the dangers of Twitter. Johnny Miller is paid to give his opinion. Poulter should know that.
Well, he said he's a poor ball striker. I'm not so sure that is the case. But the background is that Poulter was a 4-handicap assistant golf pro in England when his peers were playing high level amateur golf or going to U.S. schools. What he has done is amazing. But true, Poulter needs to play better. It is a shock he didn't make it to the Tour Championship.
In retrospect, do you tthink Tiger would have been better off not playing at all this year?
No, I don't think you get better or work through issues by not playing. If you're not playing tournaments, what is the incentive to practice? You can only do that for so long, and Tiger is not one who likes to travel around and play lots of different golf courses. No, I think he needed to work through it on the course, and he'll be better for it in the long run.
Do you feel that the complaints about Kevin Streelman making the first 3 majors of the year due to his performance in the FedEx cup are legit complaints, or are they complaints because people feel that Streelman isn't that good of a golfer?
They are legitimate complaints, and it has nothing to do with Streelman. I wrote about this also in a birdies and bogeys column (shameless plug) that will be posted later. It is no knock on Streelman, but he is getting in the first three majors next year basically becaue he had one high finish. He didn't even win. Meanwhile, a guy like Justin Rose won the Memorial and couldn't get in the U.S. Open.
Social Media will now make it easier for athletes to take pot shots at sportswriter when they are criticised whether fairly or unfairly.what do you think?
For the most part, I've found the social media avenues to be positive. And if it is a place where a player can vent about coverage, that is okay, too. But it can get out of hand.
Okay folks, I am out of time. Thanks for checking in. Check back next week when I'll be chatting from Atlanta. The following week is is Newport, Wales for the Ryder Cup. Enjoy.