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September 22, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Bob Harig

Bob Harig
  (4:00 PM)

Hello again, thanks for checking out this week's golf chat on the eve of the Tour Championship, the final FedEx Cup event of 2010. We're at East Lake in Atlanta and then headed to Wales for the Ryder Cup. Please fire away with your golf questions.

Ryan (Seattle, WA)

After watching all 4 majors this year, how would you rank them in order of best to worst. I would argue that the Masters was the best and the Open Championship the worst. What would you say about all 4?

Bob Harig
  (4:04 PM)

There is no doubt that the Masters was the best because of Phil Mickelson and his whole story coming off his wife Amy's illness. The British Open was only the least favorite from a drama standpoint. St. Andrews is still one of the best major championship venues. You can't beat the controversy of the PGA Championship and the bunker incident. And Pebble Beach is always a compelling venue. It was a different year for the majors, but still a good one.

Todd (Anchorage)

Bob, if you were the Commish, what's the first rule you would change/implement?

Bob Harig
  (4:07 PM)

I would go to every sponsor next year and reduce the purse by $1-million. I'm serious. Give them a break in a bad economy. Encourage them to sign up long term for a short-term break. It would help the sponsors and would be a show of good faith by the players who would have to play for less.

Patrick (Hanover)

What is the main issue between Sean Foley and the Stack and Tilt guys?

Bob Harig
  (4:10 PM)

I am not sure there is an issue. Others have said there is an issue. Foley knows the Stack and Tilt guys and they have shared ideas over the years. That happens all the time. I am not sure there is anything more to it than that.

Patrick (Hanover)

After Tiger did not win the BMW championship, it was reported that he would go winless for 2010 unless he played any Fall Series events which does not seem likely. He is committed to the HSBC Championship in November. Since that is now a PGA tour sanctioned event, if he wins that would it count toward 2010's win total?

Bob Harig
  (4:12 PM)

You are correct. The HSBC event in China, a World Golf event, counts as an offiical PGA Tour victory although the money is not official.

Patrick (Hanover)

It's no secret that Phil Mickelson does not like Reece Jones designs. Although he had a good finish at the BMW he has never really liked Cog Hill, and even though he is a 3-time champion at Torrey Pines, he hasn't won since the redesign in 2002 by Jones. What is it in particular that he does not like about Jones's designs?

Bob Harig
  (4:16 PM)

I am not sure he doesn't like Reese Jones designs, but it is clear he is not fond of Cog Hill and hasn't fared well at Torrey Pines since the course was changed. Jones changed the green complexes and made them quite severe. Both courses have been made longer and stronger.

Andrew (WI)

In what's become a weekly tradition, it's time for someone to ask what Phil needs to do this week to go to #1 in the OWGR. Last chance to see a change for a very long time unless someone goes crazy on the Euro tour...

Bob Harig
  (4:20 PM)

Yes, you're right. It is a weekly tradition. This will be the 13th time this year that Phil has a chance to move to No. 1. This week, he needs no worse than a three-way tie for third to do it.

Mike S (CT)

Bob, we've all seen how impressive the South Korean contigent has been on the LPGA (Shin, Tseng, plus my favorites Se Ri Pak and Na Yeon Choi). With Y.E. Yang following K.J. Choi to PGA success, and youngsters Noh and Ahn ripping apart the younger ranks (with Noh making an impact in the majors this year), do you think South Korea could soon have its own strong, deep crew on the men's side?

Bob Harig
  (4:26 PM)

I think it is still going to take awhile. The infusion of women golfers from South Korea has occurred over a period of about 15 years. The men are farther behind. Some of that has to do with a military commitment in Korea that often halts the development of men players. But it is true that the more success there is, the more others will follow. I think we are now seeing that in men's golf.

Tom Burns (Carroll, Iowa)

Hey Bob, I am a huge fan and avid follower of the amateur golf scene and I was wondering if you had any thoughts on the state of mid-amateur golf in the U.S. at this time? The US Mid Am championship starts Saturday. There are some amazing players out there and great stories also. But overall depth of fields, I fear, will begin dwindling in the near future for many reasons. Just wondering if you had any opinion. Thank you.

Bob Harig
  (4:28 PM)

I fear you are correct, mainly because it is expensive to play golf at such a high level. The best amateur players turn pro before they get to the mid-amateur level. Those people need to have jobs and it is more difficult to maintain that levle of play. I agree there are great stories in the amateur ranks.

Andrew (WI)

What do you think of Monty already deciding his pairings for the Ryder Cup? Seems a bit early, no? Or is this commonplace?

Bob Harig
  (4:31 PM)

It is definitely not common, although Luke Donald said today at the Tour Championship he had yet to hear anything. Does it matter? Not really sure. He can still change his mind. And it won't hurt if a player knows whom he will be playing with on the first day.

Pam (WPB)

In previous years, was there such a fuss made of the Ryder Cup regarding the : captains wife, the players uniforms, Tiger participation via captains pick, outcome of the matches, pairings?

Bob Harig
  (4:32 PM)

These are always issues at the Ryder Cup. Who cares what they wear? But that seems to become a big deal. So does the participation of the players' wives -- something that is not a part of any other sport.

Bob (Seattle)

If push comes to shove, will Finchem lower the payouts for the FedEx Cup or would he prefer to shelve the entire concept assuming that the current contract terms are not renewed?

Bob Harig
  (4:34 PM)

Good question. I think you lower the payouts rather than scrap the plan, even if it looks like you are retreating. But he may instead try to come up with another system that doesn't look like they are taking a pay cut -- if it even comes to that.

Matthew (Texas)

Bob, if you were an honest 14 handicapper, and shot over 95 in your last three rounds would you think it was lesson time?

Bob Harig
  (4:37 PM)

Not necessarily. .. That might be a bit hasty, although if you feel you've tried everything, it might not be a bad idea.

Bob (Seattle)

Thoughts on the Captainness? Personally, I like many of the outfits she designed but she seems a bit - outspoken.

Bob Harig
  (4:38 PM)

I have never met Corey Pavin's wife. I guess for now I'll say I appreciate her enthusiasm. We'll see if she becomes part of the story next week.

Pam (WPB)

Is there a lot of Buzz at the Tour Championships? Is the Ryder Cup the main talk or the POY or the $10m? Are there mant nervous players around.?

Bob Harig
  (4:40 PM)

To be honest not a bunch of buzz. That is the case when there are only 30 players and no pro-am. Certainly there is talk about the $10-million and that will become more of a big deal as the tournament moves forward. And plenty of chatter about the Ryder Cup, too.

Bob (Seattle)

George H.W. Bush as a World Golf HOF inductee? Really?

Bob Harig
  (4:42 PM)

There are many people in the Hall of Fame who were not players, as you know. Bush did have a big role in the formation of the First Tee program.

Marc (Malden, MA)

How about no longer allowing people to call from home and tattle on a player? Those people need to get a life.

Bob Harig
  (4:43 PM)

Good one. This is a rules of golf issue but I have always believed that the players and rules officials on site should be the only ones calling rules violations.

Nick (Atlanta)

Was Tiger in Atlanta today for the USA Ryder cup meeting?

Bob Harig
  (4:47 PM)

No, Tiger was not here. . He will be joining the team on Sunday night, however.

Marc (Malden, MA)

By on-site, you mean the official walking with the group? I also don't like guys sitting in a tent and calling penalties after the round. It only applies to the players who have tv cameras following them and they would have played the whole differently if they knew they were getting a penalty.

Bob Harig
  (4:49 PM)

It is the job of the players to protect the field. They need to be aware of what their fellow competitors are doing. There are not rules officials with every group, but they are available for rulings. If a rules official becomes aware of something after that fact, that is okay, but it shouldn't be do to a phone call from afar.

Andrew (WI)

True or false: in our lifetimes, we'll see the day where we get wall-to-wall (all day each day) Masters coverage on TV.

Bob Harig
  (4:49 PM)

False... Maybe in another lifetime.

Bill (New York, NY)

Who is your choice for POY? I think it has to be Dustin Johnson, who is a superstar in the making and probably the next #1 in the owgr

Bob Harig
  (4:51 PM)

I think it will come down to this week, really. Wide open. Phil, Dustin Johnson, Stricker, Kuchar, Els, Furyk. . any of them win here and they could capture the player of the year.

Bill (New York, NY)

I am a little surprised at Monty telling his players who they will be paired with. It will undoubtedly leak and give Pavin a slight advantage in preparations. I guess Monty just can't help himself

Bob Harig
  (4:52 PM)

I am not sure it matters much. Pavin won't know what order they are going out in.

Kevin (Glen Rock, NJ)

Can you give the casual golf fan any reason to watch any of the Fall series with such horrible fields?

Bob Harig
  (4:54 PM)

The Fall Series is for the die hard golf fan to be sure.

Bob (Seattle)

It seems like a bad sign when Rickie Fowler's getting putting lessons a couple of weeks before the Ryder Cup. How do you think he will handle the pressure?

Bob Harig
  (4:55 PM)

I think he will do fine. I am not convinced he will play every match, but if he has some putting issues, this is the time to attempt to get them worked out.

Kevin (Glen Rock, NJ)

Wouldn't John Daly better off playing the Nationwide Tour and trying to get his game in gear there next year?

Bob Harig
  (4:56 PM)

Good point! The more he plays, the better.

Bob Harig
  (4:59 PM)

Folks, I'm out of time. Sorry for the short visit, but thanks for all the questions and check back next week. Probably an early start due to the time change from Wales. Thanks again.