Hey, thanks for checking out our golf chat from the TPC Sawgrass at PGA Tour headquarters in Florida. Lots going on in the world of golf, so feel free to fire away with your questions. Thanks.
I am 32 and grew up really only seeing Seve in the Majors and the Ryder Cup. Do you think his impact on American golf would have been greater had he played in the Youtube/Golf Channel era?
I don't think there is any question. His career was essentially over before the Golf Channel era arrived and he rarely played in the United States. Imagine if there had been World Golf Championship events for him to play, as well as European Tour events televised weekly here.
Seve didn't play in the states that much because he didn't want to play the 15 minimum tour events. This week Rory McIlroy needed a sponsor's exemption to get into the field and next month the #1 player in the world, Lee Westwood, will need one to defend his title in Memphis. Meanwhile the European tour allows the top #50 in the world to play their biggest event, BMW PGA Championship, even if they are not tour members. Will the PGA tour ever relent and allow top international players the ability to play the tour without restriction? I would think that this would only enhance the tour and make it easier to attract title sponsors which they desperately need.
They are allowed to Players Championship without restriction. They are simply limited to the number of tour events they can play. And as I wrote last week -- shameless plug -- if you allow anyone to play whenever they want, what is the point of having PGA Tour membership? I respect their decision to play their own schedules. But really, we're talking about the difference of three or four events. That's all it would take for them to become members.
For being one of the greatest players in the world, and generally having such a magical short game. Why is it that Phil seems to miss more 3 to 5 footers than everyone else?
I am not sure he misses more than anyone else, but Phil does miss his share. While he has a great short game around the greens, his putting has been a work in progress for years. You'll notice he's adjusted his stance, his posture, his putter. He's worked with Dave Stockton and Dave Pelz. He experiments because he is not automatic.
Of the players in the field this year, who would you say has the best track record at The Players?
I don't think anyone has a great track record, really. This is the hardest tournament to forecast. Some guys who perform poorly jump up and win. Long hitters, short hitters. There seems to be no guideline.
Does Mickelson's commitment to play the Greenbrier have anything to do with Finchem asking the top players to support lower tier events?
It might, although I'm guessing Phil might have other reasons for doing so. That means a very hectic schedule at that time of year.
if you had to pick between K J Choi or Sergio Garcia in a golf pool who would you select?
Probably Choi, because he's shown much more consistency.
Why has The Memorial not taken off as the "5th Major" Its Jack's Tourney!
Some folks might regard it as the fifth major, but that distinction has generally gone to the Players because of the purse, the fact that it's at tour headquarters, etc.
Bob, need to win this week in my fantasy league...Can you give me a few names...
I wish I could. I'm going with Matt Kuchar, but beware of my picks. Tough duty. Especially this week, the hardest tournament to figure out.
Do you think colleague Alex Micelli is off base by saying the Players Championship is not the fifth major?
Hey, he's got a right to his opinion. Lots of opinions on the fifth major thing. Is there even such a thing? To me, there are four majors. That's it. The Players is the next best thing. Top of the line after the majors.
Why is tiger so bad??
Not sure he's so bad. He hasn't played. Last tournament he played was a tie for fourth at the Masters and if he had made a few putts on the back nine things would have been pretty interesting.
thoughts on Na and Choi for this week?
I like Choi because of his constency and Na keep knocking at the door. He had a good tournament last week and has rebounded nicely from the 16 in San Antonio. Definitely one of the best without a victory. And anything can happen here. Look at all the differet winners.
Why has there been no love for Watney at TPC? This kid fires amazing rounds in big tourneys and I personally think he wins it this weekend. One of the best ball strikers on TOUR and this is a course for just that...
I wouldn't be surprised to see him do well, but Watney has cooled off considerably since his win at Doral. He missed the cut by sevreal shots last week.
Seve never really played on the Senior Tour, excuse me Champions Tour. Looking ahead a few years do you expect much from the stars of today and a few years ago (namely Mickelson, Woods, Singh, Monty) in way of Champions Tour participation?
Sadly, Seve played just one Champions Tour event. He was going to give it a try, then finished last and never played again. As for the others, it all depends on their love for the game. Do they still want to play and compete? You have to work at it to be competitive. I think it would be terrific if Monty came over here and played the Champions Tour.
Will Tiger ever win a major again? If so, which one will he win first? I say the PGA Championship is the one.
My stock answer is you doubt Tiger at your own peril. I wouldn't be surprised to see him be a factor this summer at Royal St. George's (he tied for fourth there in 2003) as long as he is healthy.
Has Phil given any indication the way Els has that he is starting to sense his career is winding down?
Phil has not talked in those terms. If anything, he's suggested that he's got a lot of time to win tournaments. He has talked about getting to 50 wins, which means he needs 11 more.
Tiger is known for not committing to tournaments unless he is ready. He has not practiced...at all since the masters. Any chance he was asked by the higher ups to play because of Westwood and Mcilroy not playing?
That is a good conspiracy theory for sure. Maybe so. Maybe he's doing it as a favor to the tour, although it seems unlikely Tiger would play for that reason.
I heard that the first balls Tiger hit since the Masters was on Monday. Tiger always says he only plays if he thinks he has a chance to win. Why in the world would he think he has any chance to win this week?
You're right, it goes against conventional wisdom. It is hard to believe he could win when he didn't start hitting balls until Monday. And this is different from the U.S. Open in 2008. He's been working on a swing change and hasn't had time to work on it.
If a "fifth major" was actually the fifth major, we'd have five majors on tour, not four. I don't know why everyone cares so much to find a tournament to give the label to.
Correct. Four majors is it and it won't change.
What is the argument that makes the PGA Championship a better tournament than the Players? Players has a better field, bigger purse, just as tough of a course most years. What's the better accomplishment when comparing the 2 tournaments taking out that one is a "major" based on history?
With apologies to the PGA of America, you are right. The Players probably is the better tournament because it has a better field -- usually. This year two in the top 10 are missing. That won't happen often at the PGA. But what the PGA has is tradition. It dates to 1916. What is the better accomplishment? They are both incredible accomplishments, equally as difficult to win. But you can't take out the history. It simply means more to win one of the big four.
I know you've touched on it before and from Tiger's comments yesterday it sounds like the Byron Nelson could be a possibility for him. It certainly seems like a logical addition to his schedule.
It would be the only logical addition if he decides to add a tournament. But will he? A lot depends on this week.
PGA Championship started in 1916. Players started in 1974. Do we need to continue the discussion?
True, but when the Masters began in 1934, it was way behind the Western Open in history. Look what happened? But the view here is the four majors will never change.
Isn't the Players run by the PGA Tour, and none of the four majors are run by the PGA Tour? Maybe that's a good distinction to use to determine the 4 majors - not run by a professional tour.
True, but the PGA Championship used to be run by what was considered the PGA Tour. The PGA of America and PGA Tour are now separate. And there's nothing wrong with the tour running a big tournament, that is what they are in business to do.
I know he doesn't disclose it but Tiger and his team must sit down to start the year and map out his playing schedule for the year so he can schedule his other committments and now child custody around it, right? Could mean he may not be able to add a tourney like the Nelson even if he wanted to.
Do we sometimes write off Tiger for an event faster then we do other players because his accomplishments and expectations are so high.
Oops.I posted Lou's question before answering. Basically, I wanted to say he made a good point regarding Tiger's schedule.And in Tiger's case, I think those writing him off for this event do so based on past history.
Bubba and Tiger - no longer BFFs (or practice partners)?
A bit odd, yes. Tiger apparently didn't take too kindly to Bubba's remarks last week. Bubba was just being honest. He believes Tiger is over thinking it. And it comes from a guy who has NEVER had a teacher.
Am I wrong that Tiger corrects his interviews correctly unlike most players? Look, we know so much about his personal life and stuff like that honestly isn't any of our business. People rag on him for not answering personal questions but its his business not theirs. He shouldn't be required to tell the media what they want to hear. Some things are his business and I don't understand why some can't lay off of him.
Tiger has hardly been presented with a personal question in recent months. When it comes to injuries and how it affects his play, all is fair game. That doesn't mean he has to answer.
Just a amusing idea in my head, but all the top Americans should show up at the BMW Championship (Euro tour flagship event for those who don't know) just to stick it to Westy and Rory for not coming over.
The BMW takes the top 50 in the world, regardless of tour affiliation. And the top Americans almost never take up the offer.
Sure, but nobody has consistently good history at this event, including Phil who a lot of people seem to be picking (which I don't get, can't find a fairway). Tiger's not on my fantasy team though
That's true. This tournament is perplexing that way. Phil won, but his overall record here is not great.
Bubba did say Tiger was going the wrong way, perhaps I'm mistaken but isn't it unusual to hear a player offer such a blunt negative assessment of another's game? I think any pro would've been surprized to see a "friend" make that kind of public statement.
Not only that, but Bubba brought it up unprompted. The question had been about the Foley/O'Hair breakup. Tiger was not part of the discussion. Bubba brought it up. Maybe he thinks what he says will help.
Is TPC Sawgrass the antithesis of a Seve course? Basically hit it to a spot, no real ability to play recovery shots
No doubt it is a tough place to play recovery shots from because there is so much water and sand. Seve never fared very well here. And it might explain why Tiger has struggled.
The PGA Championship is way underratted. It plays on great traditional courses, has had epic duels (Tiger v. Garcia 99', Mickelson TOms 01') and has a great slogan. You can't compare it to The Players, which is famous for a gimmick hole.
Your opinion and it's well taken. I happen to think they are both great events in their own way. One stays at the same place, the other moves around to great courses.
How do you like Adam Scott's chances to win for a second time at Sawgrass?
I think he's got a great chance if he continues to play the way he did at the Masters. He seems to have a ton more confidence.
All the talk about Tiger is getting old. Can the media just cool it for a while? Start talking again when he's winning and there's something worth talking about. By the way, I'm a huge Tiger fan but just tired of hearing and watching a mediocre Tiger.
He's still the player folks are most interested in. His attempt to return to form is to some just as compelling as when he was winning.
How rusty has Tiger looked while playing?
He didn't look that rusty, really. He was jus playing casually. We'll have a much better idea when the tournament starts.
Isn't Tiger's record here better than it appears? He did only win once but he finished second to Hal Sutton and also won a US Am here. Not too shabby.
True, but just one top 10 in the last 10 years.
It could be argued that the PGA Championship is the best major. It has the deepest field every year as it contains the top 100 players...whereas the US Open and Masters get the top 50 in and then it's sketchy. Best field of the year = PGA Championship.
For that reason, many argue it to be the best field of the majors. But typically when you put it up against the Players, the field is not as strong because the Players also had the top 100 and no club pros. But this year the Players is missing 6 players in the top 50.
Will McIlroy and Westwood rue taking the week off?
I don't think they will regret it. They put some thought into tihs. They've got busy schedules and it didn't work out for them to play, especially not being PGA Tour members.
Any chance the Tour will move the tournament back to March? I agree with some that it was more compelling leading up to the Masters.
The chances are slim, unless as part of the new television contract to begin in 2013, the televising network wants it moved. But the tour has four Florida tournaments in March. They like the idea of a big tournament in May.
What?s the real story with the Rory S and Sean Ohair argument when they were paired together? Why are they only talking about suspending Rory? Do you know anything we don?t?
I do not know any more. The general details have been reported and they are only talking about suspending Rory because of his previous issues.
Keep hearing Tiger has a poor record here. Who among active players has a better record than him?
The record is talked about in relation to how long he has been playing. By Tiger's standards, one top 10 in 10 years is not very good, especially when from 2005 to 2009 he was hardly ever out of the top 10 anywhere.
What is about Sawgrass that makes it so hard to predict the winner of the Players?It is like the opposite of Augusta.
I think it is a combination of things. The course doens't necessarily require length off the tee, but short and long hitters have won the tournament. Accomplished players such s Woods and Mickelson have won, but so did Craig Perks -- his only tour win. It seems there is less ability to recover because there is so much water and sand, but yet driving accuracy and greens in regulation are rewarded -- as they should be. Just seems to not favor any type of player.
TPC at Sawgrass has two picturesque and challenging finishing holes: 17 always creates drama and 18 is no slouch either Do you think 17 or 18 is a harder hole?
There is no doubt that 18 is harder. Intimidating tee shot, tough second shot. The 17th is not a hard shot for a pro if he can get the water onout of his mind.
Okay folks, I am out of time. Thanks for all the questions again this week. Don't forget I also answer questions at email@example.com. . . Enjoy the golf.