The WGC Match Play is well under way in Arizona, with several compelling matches already in the books. I'm here to answer your questions, or serve as a break from Sobel's blog -- or maybe give him a break from you -- for the next little while. All golf questions welcome. Fire away.
Do players enjoy playing this event in the desert? Not necessarily at this venue but the desert and match play don't seem to mingle.
My sense is that the players are mixed on holding the event where it is now played or even in this setting. That said, you can play match play anywhere and it would be compelling. The venue isn't so important in match play, really. It's one on one. But what you do want is a spectator friendly course, a nice mix of short and long holes to create some drama. I'd personally like to see them move this tournament around.
There is a scenario (albiet far fetched) where Tiger Woods could be OWGR #8 at the end of the week. Does it at all matter for him? He is exempt into every event I can see (not counting Kapalua so let me amend that to every event he cares to play) until the 2019 US Open (which being at Pebble I think he'd get s special exemption). Everyone always talks about he isn't #1 anymore or while he isn't #1 every player considers him #1. What difference does it make? He is completely immune to the OWGR, has his PGA Card for life and will be the #1 draw forever. Worst case is he misses a few WGCs.
He is not in danger of falling to No. 8. There is a scenario by which anyone in the top 10 can pass him for No. 3 if he loses today against Thomas Bjorn and certain scenarios occur. That doesn't mean they can all pass him.But your point is well taken. The ranking is really about pride for Tiger. Except for this event -- where it is used for seeding -- it means nothing. He never has to worry about the Masters, British Open or PGA and the U.S. Open he's good through 2017. And as long as he stays in the top 50 in the world, he's good there too. PGA Tour? He's a lifetime member. And even if his status -- we are getting way out there now -- were to drop to where he was non exempt, what tournament wouldn't give him a spot??
Bob, I told you about David Duval last week. I feel like he's close to turning that corner and winning again. I watched him here live in Los Angeles on Sunday and he shot 5 under on Sunday....
Duval has made four straight cuts and posted his first top 10 of the year in LA. This is the first year he's been fully exempt on the PGA Tour since 2003. His is a remarkable story of perseverance, given that he's accomplished a lot and made a lot of money. But is he going to win? It's been 10 years. It would be a great story if he did.
I loved all the ESPN 30 for 30's. Which were your favorite 30 for 30's? Is there one story not covered by 30 for 30 that you wished they could have covered?
My favorite? Loved the SMU 30 for 30. Fascinating. Would love a golf topic and there are rumblings about a Jack Nicklaus '86 production. I bet that would be excellent.
I have been waiting for years for the Tiger Woods video game to add Whistling Straits and Augusta National. It looks like my wishes are going to be answered in consecutive years. Besides the unfortunate ruling last year in the PGA Championship, what are your thoughts on Whistling Straits?
The setting on Lake Michigan is awesome, but to me it seems to be much too difficult for the average golfer. And the fiasco with Dustin Johnson last year suggests to me that they need to remove a bunch of those bunkers. They could lose 500 bunkers and the place would still have more than just about any other course.
Why not have this event be for the top 16 players. Group them into 4 groups and have them play everyone in their group on Weds, Thurs and Fri. The top 2 from each group move on to single elimination match play. This would allow everyone to be around until at least Friday and give the big guns (and big TV Draws) a much better chance of playing on the weekend. This would also allow for much more compelling matches than say Karlsson vs. Fujita.
Good suggestion. There have been many ideas kicked around for the Match Play. Some include having a stroke-play component. One idea I'd like to see explored is making it double elimination. Have a loser's bracket so everyone is around for at least 2 days. It would mean more players on the course each day for spectators and TV. Working out the logistics at the end could be tricky.
Do you think Ryan Moore can win this week?He was pretty good at match play as an amateur.
You're correct Ryan Moore had a terric amateur record at match play, winning the U.S. Am, Western Am, etc. .. .I'm not sure that translates to the Match Play Championship, but certainly that experience can't hurt. It is amazing to hear how many of these guys have gone years without playing this format. And Moore is off to a good start in his match today.
I am heading to So. Fla for a few weeks, which venue is more fun, Doral or Honda?
Hate to be wishy-washy, but they are both resort courses and both good spectator touranment venues. It's hard to go wrong with either.
It's getting harder and harder to keep rooting for Phil as he continually disappoints, is it time to switch allegiance to Natalie Guilbus?
You might be a bit harsh on Phil there. .. It is surprising that he did not win again after the Masters last year. And he's had his struggles this year. But too early to write him off.
If you could move this event to any other course on the PGA Tour, where would you put this?
I am not sure the course matters. I think location is important, but as I stated earlier, the actual venue is not that big of a deal in match play. You need to have spectator friendly holes and a mix of short and long holes for drama. You can move the tees up or back. Let them drive par-4s, etc. . . I'd like to see this WGC move around the world to different venues.
Have you noticed Phil doesn't seem to be in great shape anymore?
Was Phil ever in great shape? I think he's made attempts to get fit, and like many of us, these efforts ebb and flow. I'm not sure that is the issue with Phil at the moment.
I really don't think there is a media fixation with No. 1. It just so happens that for one of the rare times in the past decade, there is actually something to discuss at No. 1. That is different than a fixation. Other than 32 weeks in 2004 and 2005 when Vijay Singh went to No. 1, there was no debate. Now there is. And it's at least somewhat interesting.
Is Stack and Tilt gone for good?
Interesting discussion, one that requires a lot of technical knowledge of the golf swing. I'm guessing you are referring to the fact that Aaron Baddeley has gone away from the Stack and Tilt method and back to his old coach from Australia. And what happens? He wins for the first time in 4 years. To me, the interseting thing about golf instruction is there are dozens, hundreds, of excellent instructors. Many, many famous ones. And few of them teach the same way. It says something about how many different ways there are to swing a club and be successful.
Sobel over in his Live Blog talked about the artifically high OWGR ranking of the top Asian Tour players. Do you feel a guy like Ryo Ishikawa (or whatever top young players that tour has) is going to have to abandon his "home" tour sometime soon in order to be able to become an elite golfer?
Wow, Sobel made a good point. Amazing (kidding, folks). I agree with him that the OWGR has produced some artifically high rankings. How else can you view it when so many players, Ishikawa, struggle on the PGA Tour? That is not to say he won't be great somebody. But he's won a lot of tournaments in Japan, but has his problems here, and yet he's ranked among the top 50 in the world? Doesn't seem possible.
What is your analysis of Yani Tseng play thus far. Have you watched her in person. What about doing an in depth feature so we get to "know" her
She is dominating, which is what golf craves. 4 tournaments, 4 victories, only one on the LPGA Tour.I have not seen her play this year as all of the tournaments have been overseas and my prime duties are the PGA Tour. But her demeanor and calmness are impressive for her age, and she's obviously learning how to win which will only make her tougher to beat.
Should the tour adopt a couple more match play tournaments on the schedule? Maybe during the fall series for the rank-and-file players - could you imagine the drama in October in a match play tournament if tour cards were on the line?
I am not sure it works in that setting because tour cards are based on money. .. But I do think it would not hurt to have another match play event on the schedule. Maybe a regular tournament. Base it on FedEx Cup points if you want. Make it partially stroke play and match play at the end.
Okay folks, I'm at out of questions.Check out Jason Sobel's live blog now and the next few days at the WGC Match Play Championship.If you want to send a question to my mailbag: firstname.lastname@example.orgThanks again