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July 20, 4:00 PM ET
Chat with Bob Harig

Bob Harig
  (4:12 PM)

Hello everyone, thanks for checking in to this week's golf week chat. Sorry for the late start.Lots going on in the golf world and now Tiger has parted ways with his long-time caddie Steve Williams. Please fire away with your questions.

Andrew (Los Angeles)

From Stevie's recently released statement, it sounds like Stevie was very much fired by Tiger without mutual agreement - why would Tiger do that?

Bob Harig
  (4:15 PM)

Getting lots of questions about this with few answers at this point. You can speculate that Tigr didn't like him caddying for Adam Scott, that it's simply time to move on. Guys change caddies all the time, although in this case it certainly is a stunner.

Ed (Long Island)

Will this Tiger firing Williams story be totally overblown? At the end of the day, really how important is the caddy relationship when they are between the ropes?

Bob Harig
  (4:16 PM)

It depends. Guys pay caddies a lot of money for a reason. If it wasn't that big of a deal, every player would have a relative on the bag.

Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)

Why does ESPN broadcast the entire first and second round but only cover part of the third and fourth round?

Bob Harig
  (4:18 PM)

I wouldn't call it part of the third and fourth rounds. They were on the air at 7 a.m. ET Saturday and 6 a.m. on Sunday -- well before the leaders teed off.

Patrick (Hanover)

Was Sunday in a sense a micrcosm of Phil Mickelson's career? You had the brilliant front nine showing Phil at his best and then the back of mistakes.

Bob Harig
  (4:19 PM)

It seemed that the short missed putt was his undoing. Then he felt he had to get aggressive, and that typically doesn't work on those kind of courses.

Patrick (Hanover)

I have always argued that Phil at his absolute best is every bit as good as Tiger at his best and I think you saw it on the front nine on Sunday. The difference between the two in my opinion has always been course management and short putting and I think we saw evidence of that this past week. When Tiger was Tiger he never missed a 3-6 footer when he needed it. Your thoughts.

Bob Harig
  (4:20 PM)

That sums it up pretty well. That was a killer for Phil to miss that putt.

Terry (Houston)

It sounds like Stevie knew about his release after the AT&T - why is this information coming out now?

Bob Harig
  (4:20 PM)

The guess here is that he didn't want it to become a distraction for Adam Scott at the British Open.

Andrew (Los Angeles)

Davis Love III, our current Ryder Cup captain, finished T9! When was the last time we had a playing captain? How likely is it Davis can pull this off?

Bob Harig
  (4:21 PM)

Last playing captain was Arnold Palmer in 1963. At the time, Palmer was just 33 years old. Different era completely. Ryder Cup was much different too. I'm sure Davis would love very much to play well enough to make the team. But whether he goes through with it if it were to happen is a big leap.

Andrew (Los Angeles)

How much of Darren Clarke's victory was luck? In terms of avoiding the weather, and those nice bounces he got on Sunday?

Bob Harig
  (4:23 PM)

To win on a links, there has to be some luck involved. That's what happens to anyone who wins any tournament, usually. Clarke got a couple of good bounces, basically had the good weather. Look at Ousthuizen last year. He played before the horrible weather on Friday.

Terry (Houston)

Is Darren Clarke a one-off? Does he have a chance at any other major in the future?

Bob Harig
  (4:24 PM)

It depends on his attitude and putting. Clarke has been known to get down on himself. He seems better in that regard. Putting has always held him back. Even Saturday ,he needed 34 putts. But he hung in there to shoot 69 to set up Sunday -- when he made a lot of putts.

Gideon (Boston)

Are American players making a comeback? An awful lot of them on the leaderboard on Sunday at Royal St. George's.

Bob Harig
  (4:25 PM)

There were a lot of them up there, a good sign. But I'm not sure they ever went anywhere. They had a bad U.S. Open is all. I know they haven't won majors lately, but it's a big world out there now in golf.

Tom (L.A.)

It would seem strange if one reason Tiger fired Williams is because he was working with Adam Scott. By all accounts, Scott got permission from Tiger first. Would Tiger just expect Williams not to work the rest of the year?

Bob Harig
  (4:26 PM)

Maybe so.

Andrew (Los Angeles)

I think people are being way too harsh on Rory for his "I don't like playing in bad weather" comments. Seriously, is there anyone who likes playing in bad weather?

Bob Harig
  (4:28 PM)

Not sure that anyone has been harsh. Give him credit for being honest. But dealing with weather is part of the situation at an Open. Seemed odd that a guy from Portrush of all places would complainabout trhe weather.

Gideon (Boston)

Was the weekend a breakthrough for Rickie Fowler? Super impressed with him on Saturday.

Bob Harig
  (4:28 PM)

Perhaps it will be a breakthrough. If he could have gotten any putts to fall Sunday, he might have been right there.

Matt (Philly)

Bob - You think the timing of announcing the firing of Stevie gives eveyone an idea that Tiger will be back soon?

Bob Harig
  (4:30 PM)

Not necessarily. It appears this was in the works and they just waited until after the British Open.

Neal (Indiana)

I thought the story with Tom Lewis was pretty cool. He was named after Tom Watson, played with him for the first two days, tied for the lead after the first round, and saw Tom make an Ace in the second round. What a week. I also heard them mention that Tom Lewis had a veteran caddie on the bag. How do caddie's get paid if they are working for an amateur? I would assume they do not.

Bob Harig
  (4:31 PM)

That's one of the difficulties in being an amateur. You still have to pay the caddie in almost all instances unless it's a friend or a relative. They obviously must work out some sort of arrangement as there is no prize money to get a commission from.

Craig (Lakeland)

Who do you think could be a possible replacement for Stevie?

Bob Harig
  (4:33 PM)

Have no idea. There would be no shortage of candidates if he wanted to start interviewing people. Guess here would by Bryon Bell, who works for him at his design company. Long-time friend of Tiger.

Terry (Houston)

Can Tiger be reasonably ready for the PGA in Atlanta now?

Bob Harig
  (4:35 PM)

It's all a matter of practice. Has he been working on his game? Forget tournament golf, Tiger needs to work on his swing, his short game, his putting. There's been no discussion about whether or not he's been hitting balls.

Mark (St. Paul)

Would Tiger risk making his image worse by going out and stealing a current players caddie?

Bob Harig
  (4:36 PM)

Caddies switch players all the time and it's not considered stealing. It happens.

Ryan (St Louis)

What are the odds of the PGA of America having a sense of humor and pairing Tiger and Adam Scott together in the PGA, assuming he plays?

Bob Harig
  (4:37 PM)

My guess is they wouldn't think it was funny.

Emilio (Detroit)

What is Royal Lytham and St. Anne's like? Is it similar to Royal St. George's?

Bob Harig
  (4:38 PM)

It is not similar to Royal St. George's, nothing really is. The course is in an area of England there there are a lot of great links. Not far from Royal Birkdale and Royal Liverpool, although it is not particularly scenic. Very flat.

Andrew (Los Angeles)

I'm impressed with how many players who played at Royal St. George's are playing the Canadian Open - how did they manage that?

Bob Harig
  (4:39 PM)

They had a charter flight going from England to Vancouver on Sunday night. That made things much easier. Guys didn't have to wait until Monday to leave.

Gideon (Boston)

When is Tom Watson's magic at the British Open going to run out? Or is he just the best bad weather golfer of all time?

Bob Harig
  (4:41 PM)

A couple of reasons why he excels at the British: length is not nearly the factor it is anywhere else; and Watson is still one of the game's best ball-strikers. He hits it solid, which really helps in the wind. Also the greens are slower with helps him putting.

Patrick (Hanover)

I really liked what I saw from AK this weekend. Your thoughts?

Bob Harig
  (4:46 PM)

I wrote about this in birdies and bogeys (shameless plug). I think it's a good sign

Andrew (Los Angeles)

I loved how many Brits still came out during the weekend even though the weather looked atrocious. Was the weather really as bad as it looked on TV? Are the Brits just that golf crazy?

Bob Harig
  (4:48 PM)

It was truly impressive. The number of people who braved that weather was amazing. you wouldn't have wanted to go to your mailbox in that.

Ernie (Long Island)

Do you know what the odds were on Clarke winning? Did anyone make a bundle putting down a fun bet on Clarke?

Bob Harig
  (4:49 PM)

Apparently it was 150 to 1 at one point prior to the Open. Hard to believe anyone thought he could win. Maybe they'd take a flyer on an each-way (top 5) bet

Terry (Houston)

I really cannot believe Tiger would fire Stevie now - let's be clear Tiger hasn't played well for over a year and has been loyal - why now? It makes no sense

Bob Harig
  (4:50 PM)

I'll go back to what I said earlier in this chat. And it's just speculation. I have a feeling he didn't like that he was caddying for Adam Scott. Just my hunch is all

Ernie (Long Island)

Haven't seen any thoughts on DJ's performance - a choke or simply a young golfer learning the art of finishing?

Bob Harig
  (4:51 PM)

I don't think he choked, just hit a bad shot at the wrong time and didn't think it through properly. It was into the wind and he really needed more club to get to the green. So why a 2 iron? if you're going to lay up, then lay up. Seems like he tried to step on it and it got away from him.

Gideon (Boston)

Royal St. George's - after this weekend, a worthy Open site? Does it move up the list of good sites?

Bob Harig
  (4:52 PM)

I don't think it moves up the list -- it is still not universally loved. But they proved that with the right set up, it works just fine. Given that it is the only real option they have in the south of England, I don't think it is going anywhere.

Gideon (Boston)

I just read somewhere the LPGA is going to have a 5th major - uh, does it simply work that way? You just declare a tournament a 5th major? Someone should tell Finchem.

Bob Harig
  (4:56 PM)

You read correctly. It appears to be a strange move.

Bob Harig
  (4:57 PM)

Okay folks, I've got to go. Sorry for the shorter chat this week. Very much appreciate all the questions and I can't get to them all. Please consider sending your questions to my mailbag: bobhespn@gmail.com.. Thanks again.